Stamps' shock and ouch!

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:14 PM ET

CALGARY - Even before Corey Mace learned the official diagnosis, a couple of his Calgary Stampeders teammates had heard the bad news.

Mace ruptured his right Achilles tendon in the fourth quarter of Friday’s loss to the Toronto Argonauts, with some of his defensive buddies recognizing the distinctive sound that often accompanies that type of injury.

“A couple of players on the field said they heard the pop,” Mace said. “When I tried to get up, I knew something was wrong right away. I felt it, but I just thought somebody had kicked me in the back of the leg.

“But I knew something was bad. I didn’t know if I broke my ankle or something, I just knew something was bad when I tried to get up and walk. It’s just a terrible situation.”

For the 25-year-old, it couldn’t be much worse.

The broad-shouldered defensive tackle from Port Moody, B.C., was making his first appearance since recovering from off-season back surgery. He’ll now go under the knife for another procedure this week and will likely be sidelined for the remainder of this CFL campaign.

With crutches under his arms and a walking boot on his right leg, he admitted after Saturday’s rundown at McMahon Stadium he could hardly believe his bad fortune.

“Still, right now, I’m kind of in shock. I just don’t understand why this is happening,” Mace said. “Right now, everything is just so fresh. My mind is so scattered right now. It still hasn’t completely hit me what is happening. I’m at a loss for words, really.”

Mace’s injury was the worst news stemming from the season-opening setback against the Argos. Kicker Rob Maver (quadriceps) will also miss this week’s road-trip to B.C., while linebacker Malik Jackson (concussion) and slotback Ken-Yon Rambo (hamstring) suffered less severe injuries.

With Mace facing a long road to recovery, the Stamps have only three healthy Canadians on their defensive line, a group that includes Adrian Davis, Justin Phillips and rookie Junior Turner. Stamps head coach John Hufnagel seems optimistic they can handle an increased workload, and said he isn’t looking for another non-import.

As for Mace, he’s clinging to hope he might be able to return if the Stamps advance to the West Final or the Grey Cup. Since-retired Stamps receiver Ryan Thelwell suffered a torn Achilles tendon in 2009 many figured would end his career, but he returned for one more campaign.

“Everybody has been telling me that it’s a successful procedure and a lot of guys — over 70 or 80 percent — come back to play,” Mace said. “And that’s cool and everything. But for me, it’s just so disappointing because I know the work I did to get back from the back surgery. And it was the first game back, and I was playing OK. I just had a lot of things I wanted to do for myself, personally, and for the defence.”


Videos

Photos