A starting receiver sat out practice Tuesday, but the Calgary Stampeders are breathing a sigh of relief.
Just call it a convenient coincidence.
With P.K. Sam sidelined due to a knee injury, Stampeders head coach John Hufnagel suddenly gets a tough decision taken away from him.
Ken-Yon Rambo vowed to return to face the Winnipeg Blue Bombers Saturday, having been out more than a year with a serious knee injury, and he took Sam’s spot with the starting offence Tuesday.
“He looked good to me,” Hufnagel said of Rambo. “It’s a timely period to get him on the field.”
Sam’s injury doesn’t affect Rambo’s return. The 31-year-old was close to being ready to face the Saskatchewan Roughriders Saturday.
“I was going to be on the field regardless if P.K. was going to be ready or not,” Rambo said. “I’m ready to go. He tweaked something, and
I don’t know what is going on with it. But I’m ready to go regardless.”
It’s a knee-for-knee tradeoff, as Sam had blood drained from his joint.
Rambo’s debut is a long time coming.
Saturday was the one-year anniversary of a devastating torn ACL suffered in Vancouver’s B.C. Place Stadium.
The team has taken it slowly with Rambo throughout training camp and the first few weeks of the season.
Now that the team is 3-1 without the 2008 leading receiver, the Ohio State product is anxious to be part of the success.
He would also like to start talking about matchups instead of how he’s feeling.
“I would love to stop talking about it and just play,” he said. “I’ve been doing this for years, but I haven’t played in a year.
“I’m ready to do some things. I want to have fun with the boys. The boys are having fun out there.”
When Rambo was injured last season, the Stamps first used Ryan Thelwell in the wideout spot he occupied.
Then Thelwell injured his Achilles, and a trade with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers brought in both Romby Bryant and Arjei Franklin.
It’s only fitting Bryant and Franklin make their first starts against the Bombers as both Thelwell and Rambo return from their injuries.
But with Bryant staying in his starting position, Rambo is now a slotback. He takes Sam’s position, which was formerly Jeremaine Copeland’s.
“I love moving around every which way,” Rambo said. “Being stationary, they will know where you are at. Moving around, they won’t be able to tell where I’m going.”
Sam had a solid game against the Riders, with five receptions for 54 yards, including his first Stampeders’ touchdown, and drew a 30-yard pass interference call.
Rambo will have a challenge in his first game back. Winnipeg has the CFL’s top-rated pass defence.
“We just have to take what they give us and do what we do,” he said.