REGINA -- Some time tonight, likely during the first quarter, Joffrey Reynolds will pass Wes Cates for the CFL's rushing lead.
There is simply nothing the Saskatchewan Roughriders can do about it. Cates is out with a lower leg injury, while Reynolds is going to do what he always does -- carry the ball and average six yards a touch.
So nine yards won't be hard to make up when the Riders host Reynolds and the Calgary Stampeders at Mosaic Stadium (8 p.m., TSN).
"That's part of being a consistent player, being on the field," said Reynolds, who is now the only CFL running back to start every game this season.
"This is a violent game. Any one of us can be out on any play. I'm not going to lie to you -- sometimes, after the games, I wake up and I just hope I don't feel this way the day before the next game."
Cates was an early candidate for most outstanding player, but this is the second straight game he will miss. That leaves a backfield of Canadian rookie Stu Foord and import newcomer Hugh Charles.
The Riders only had eight designed running plays last week in a 37-12 loss to the Alouettes, so Riders head coach Ken Miller is focused on getting that part of the game going, even without Cates.
"We need to utilize the (backs) more than we did in Montreal," he said. "We won't make excuses. The people we put on the field are quality football players, and we expect them to play well."
Reynolds and Cates have almost identical numbers this season, but the Riders back has played one fewer game.
Cates has 177 carries for 1,055 yards, while Reynolds has 176 carries for 1,046 yards. Both have nine touchdowns.
When Cates was traded from the Stamps to the Riders before last season, Calgary management essentially chose Reynolds for his durability.
If it wasn't for a one-game rest at the end of 2007, the 28-year-old would be one of the ironmen of the CFL. As it stands, he's played every game asked of him since 2004.
It's possible Reynolds will get his first rushing title this season, depending on when Cates comes back and whether Montreal Alouette Avon Cobourne (940 yards) stays healthy and puts up big numbers.
Although Reynolds would trade it for a Grey Cup, he wouldn't mind a rushing title.
"You always want to be at the top of your position in terms of production," he said.
"As a running back, you need longevity, durability and to be productive all at the same time. It's something I would like to have."