Long run of good health

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:13 AM ET

For the past two seasons, Jon Cornish played the waiting game.

Eventually, Joffrey Reynolds had to get hurt and give Cornish a chance to shine as the feature tailback with the Calgary Stampeders.

Although there are running backs going down all over the CFL, Reynolds is doing what he always does: Suiting up and playing his position.

"The game doesn't treat the running back position very nicely," said Cornish, who had his 36-game streak snapped by missing the opener against the Montreal Alouettes on Canada Day.

"Then there are guys like Joffrey who never missed due to injury. I hadn't missed a game in my life until now."

As impressive as Reynolds' stats have been over the years -- he led the league with 227 carries for 1,310 yards last season -- probably the most impressive feat is he hasn't missed a game due to injury since arriving in 2004.

If not for getting 'rested' in the season finale of 2007, the Texan would have a 78-game ironman streak, right now.

In that same period of time, Edmonton Eskimos running back Jesse Lumsden has played just 30 games, although he did have some NFL stints in there.

At this moment, the list of injured running backs extends past Lumsden and his dislocated shoulder.

Ian Smart (B.C. Lions), Wes Cates (Saskatchewan Roughriders), Kenton Keith (Hamilton Tiger-Cats), Terry Caulley (Tiger-Cats) and Tre Smith (Tiger-Cats) are all hurting. The Stamps also have also lost Cornish and Demetris Summers to injuries right now.

When pressed for a reason he always suits up, Reynolds said it's a mix of good luck and hard work.

"I guess that's fortunate enough for me," Reynolds said. "It takes a lot of preparation to get your body to be able to withstand the beating over a season.

"Again, sometimes accidents do happen, and I've been blessed they haven't happened to me."

Cornish was injured in the first pre-season game when his knee was hyper-extended on a low hit. He expects to return to practice next week and play against the Toronto Argonauts July 17 at McMahon Stadium.

The reason Cornish got hurt was because he took a shot when he wasn't expecting it, and he said positioning is a way both he and Reynolds have managed to avoid getting hurt.

"I've never had an injury that was caused by me," Cornish said. "I've never cut and blown a knee or twisted an ankle.

"It's the same for Joffrey," Cornish continued. "It shows the preparedness of the guy coming in. His muscles are strong, his tendons and ligaments are in places where they should be -- and that's the most important thing."

Like Kelvin Anderson during the late 1990s and early in this decade, much of Reynolds' value to the Stamps is in his ability to lead the league is touches and to stay healthy and on the field.

Durability is a skill as much as making a great cut or hitting the hole.

When Lumsden was injured, it was a routine hit from a linebacker, the kind an every-down back must take 15 to 20 times a game.

"I feel like sorry for Jesse because people are saying he's injury prone," Reynolds said.

"In reality, you have 200-plus pound guys flying around at full speed. Sometimes things happen.

"You just never know when it's your time that someone will cut you down from the back or land on your ankle or get hit in the shoulder wrong," Reynolds added.

"It's one of those things you say about life. Every day above ground is a good one. Every game you play is a good one.

"There are no secrets here."


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