Broken thumb's a snap

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 9:59 AM ET

The amount of bobbled snaps for the Calgary Stampeders is less than the number of broken thumbs by the man handling the ball.

For the record, that's none.

"Knock on wood," said long snapper Randy Chevrier.

"I'm only as good as my next one."

At the start of training camp, it was revealed Chevrier's right thumb was busted and could be fixed with surgery. But he wanted to keep playing.

So trainer Pat Clayton fitted the defensive lineman with a special cast that covers the thumb but keeps his fingers free to grip the ball.

Everyday things like typing emails or washing the dishes are out of the question but Chevrier has made the appendage work on the field.

He'll try to keep it going tonight when the Stamps face the B.C. Lions at McMahon Stadium (7 p.m., TSN, subject to local blackout).

"I'm fortunate I could adapt right away and it didn't mess me up psychologically because I know that could be a big thing for a guy," said the second-year Stampeder.

"I can't put my thumb on the ball, which is what I normally do. I had to alter my mechanics but I feel like I've been snapping the ball well in practice and games.

"Breaking a thumb should be hard to snap with but I haven't let it bother me."

At first, Chevrier was trying to downplay the injury because opposition offensive lineman might try to swat at it when he's playing defence.

But once he snaps the ball on punts and field goals, he immediately puts on a wrist brace and larger cast, which is hard enough to protect the injury.

"If somebody goes after it, it would probably hurt them more than me," he said with a chuckle.

"There's a bit of pain. The way I snap, the hands go off my thigh. Initially, it was pretty awful."

The first thought was about surgery, with a recovery time of about six weeks. Chevrier would have been back in the lineup by now if he had the procedure but didn't want to miss any playing time.

Now he is starting to wonder if it will heal at all if he keeps using it, not that he will stop until after the Grey Cup.

The thumb could be setting incorrectly and require a rebreak at some point to get it straight.

"It was a personal choice. I'll have to deal with the consequences later," Chevrier said.

"It was a personal decision. It's one of my contributions to the team. (Punter) Burke Dales and (kicker) Sandro DeAngelis are more comfortable when I'm in there. I think we have good chemistry.

"I try to keep things consistent and I wouldn't have been able to play defensive line either with the surgery."

The biggest risk is when he chases down a punt returner on the coverage team.

"There's nothing I can do if my hand gets in an awkward position."


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