New chance for Jenkins

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:32 AM ET

In a season full of bad breaks around the league, Julian Jenkins had one of the worst.

Just three quarters into his CFL career, the Calgary Stampeders defensive lineman had a leg-on-leg collision with teammate Charleston Hughes.

It was a crushing blow, and Jenkins got the worst of it.

Suddenly his season was done with broken tibia that required hours of surgery and a metal plate to fix.

The play from a Week 2 loss against the Eskimos in Edmonton was left off many highlight reels, and with good reason. The sight of it would give a normal person chills.

"I've never seen it. I lived it," said Jenkins. "Guys come up and tell me, and all they say is, 'ooooo.' I don't need to see it.

"I remember I was hit on the side of my leg. It went numb and then I woke up the next day in hospital."

When this year's training camp opened, Jenkins was back in full action, showing none of the effects of the incident last July.

One of the main storylines with the Stamps is having three of four defensive-line positions open because last year's starters are gone.

But that's not completely true, as Jenkins was the starter before Hughes took over and eventually left for the NFL.

"Technically I am," Jenkins said about being a returning starter. "But you have to fight for your job every game. You need to be uneasy every game in order to fight to get ready for the season."

Many players would have left the team and went home to recover from a devastating injury like this. Jenkins stayed in Calgary, even though he had just arrived a week before. He worked on getting healthy and stayed through the Grey Cup, standing on the sidelines as the team beat Montreal.

"It wasn't tough being here because I needed to rehab," said the 25-year-old Stanford product.

"If I went home to Atlanta, I'm not sure I would have received the rehab I needed. I was getting the right treatment here and there was a driving force behind last season that was so positive."

In the past few years, the Stamps have tried to keep injured players close to the team, but they still get pushed to the background.

Defensive back J.R. Ruffin is another example of how important staying around can be. He was brought back late last season after more than a year out with a knee injury.

Jenkins followed the same model.

"You try to be part of the defence, you attend as many meetings as you can. I would watch the film, come in and do rehab," Jenkins said.

"If I saw anything the offences were doing, I would talk to Hughes about it. Or I would talk to (defensive end Mike) Labinjo."

Only time will tell if Jenkins is fully recovered to withstand playing a full 60 minutes.

"I'm 100% back and a little lighter," Jenkins said. "I'm feeling good."


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