Stamps' Rambo back in action?

Stampeders receiver Ken-Youn Rambo. CALGARY SUN FILE PHOTO

Stampeders receiver Ken-Youn Rambo. CALGARY SUN FILE PHOTO

RANDY SPORTAK, Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:00 PM ET

While the rest of his Stampeders teammates were heading to the locker room following the rundown, Ken-Yon Rambo was racing back to the turf.

Looking like a little kid as he put on his receivers gloves, Rambo happily headed for more work.

Under the vigilant eyes of GM/head coach John Hufnagel, the star receiver who has been out of game action for a year raced around the field catching passes.

“I’m real close,” said Rambo, who suffered a horrible knee injury last July. “When the guys were out east, we were out here pushing sleds and running hills. I feel great. That means we’re really close.”

Close, eh?

Are we talking Saturday’s game at McMahon Stadium against the Saskatchewan Roughriders?

“We’re going to go through the practice and see how it feels,” Rambo replied, as coyly as he could.

Lord knows the Stampeders could use the injection Rambo could bring to the pass-catching crew.

The 2008 CFL receiving champ has been on the sidelines since a July 24, 2009, win over the host B.C. Lions. He needed to have the meniscus repaired and then had the ACL reconstructed.

The club has struggled offensively ever since and now is in dire need of a game-breaker, especially after Wednesday’s 27-24 loss to the Toronto Argonauts.

A seemingly team-wide case of the dropsies affected the receiving corps, making Rambo’s return to action all the more important.

“We just didn’t have a good game, all-around, as wide receivers,” Rambo said. “We had some drops, which is going to happen. We’re not going to catch everything, but we’ve got to make plays. We have to get everything going, keep the party going.”

But Rambo won’t push himself to run between the lines until he’s truly ready.

“I watched it, and it’s hard watching from the TV and sidelines, and you want to get in there, but you don’t want to tear the knee by going early,” Rambo said. “You know you can make plays, but I’ll back my teammates 100%. Our wide receivers — we practice hard to make plays, catch balls. We just didn’t do it well in the Toronto game, but we have to look to the future.”

He spent nearly as much time trying to help rebuild the confidence of his fellow receivers as he did running routes.

“We talked to them in meetings and said a few words,” Rambo said. “We talked about our whole group, how we played and what we’ve got to do. We know we have to make plays for our quarterbacks.

“We don’t do our job, and it goes on the quarterback. When we do our job, it goes to the quarterback. But he has a hard job on his hands, dealing with the critics and the media.”

It would seem Henry Burris’ job may soon become a little easier. After all, Rambo is an all-star talent.

All he needs is the OK.

“There’s no swelling. I get a little stiff sometimes — it is a surgically repaired knee, so it will be stiff sometimes,” Rambo said. “But the bad days are past, and the good days are ahead.”

If Rambo is in the lineup against the Riders, it’ll be the second straight game the club has seen a veteran receiver return to action.

Ryan Thelwell suited up against the Argonauts. It was his first game since suffering a torn Achilles last September.The Achilles healed in time to suit up for the season-opener, but his return was delayed by a sprained ankle in the final preseason game.

“I was sore — I’m not going to lie,” Thelwell said. “About halfway through the game,

I ran a route and it didn’t agree with my ankle.

“It was pretty swollen —

I think from the flight on the way back — but that was expected.”

The Achilles, however, was great.

“Didn’t bother me at all,” Rambo said. “It’s funny, but once you get going, it’s something you don’t think about. It didn’t even cross my mind.

“I knew my ankle was the problem, so you have to get out there and test. There was one point in time it felt a little funny, but it held up.”


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