Stamps running back evades serious infection

Stampeders running back Jon Cornish was sent to hospital for a potentially serious leg infection,...

Stampeders running back Jon Cornish was sent to hospital for a potentially serious leg infection, but he was cleared by doctors.

Ian Busby, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:28 PM ET

CALGARY - This latest infection nearly had an effect on the entire staff.

Luckily for the Calgary Stampeders, they escaped a potentially devastating ailment to their starting running back.

It wasn’t without a few tense moments.

Jon Cornish left Tuesday’s practice and went to get an infection checked out at hospital.

Suddenly, the minor issue looked worse than he first expected.

“You know that feeling when doctors walk in all happy to see you then check your malady and they get all worried? It happened to me today!” Cornish wrote on his Twitter feed Tuesday night.

Cornish skipped practice Wednesday while awaiting the test results taken the day before, and the entire organization had to breathe a sigh of relief when it came back saying he could suit up Sunday against the Montreal Alouettes.

Earlier this season, the Stampeders lost offensive lineman John Bender to a seemingly minor infection on his leg.

It blew up, and the rookie was on home confinement with an IV. He was gone for two months, and while making a recovery, he was put on the nine-game injured list to finish out the year.

This would have been a tough way for Cornish’s breakout season to get derailed.

In five starts since replacing Joffrey Reynolds as the starting running back, Cornish has piled up 502 rushing yards.

The 26-year-old Kansas product has quickly moved up to seventh in yards from scrimmage in the CFL while adding a new dimension to the Stampeders’ offence.

Had he not been able to go, Reynolds would have taken back his starting job, but there would have been no other option than to play fullback Rob Cote in the backfield on downs when the Stampeders wanted five import receivers on the field.

It certainly doesn’t help that LaMarcus Coker, who dressed for four games while Reynolds sat out as a healthy scratch, suffered an ankle sprain and isn’t available.

The Stamps hope Coker will be ready for the season-finale against Winnipeg Nov. 5.

Reynolds returned last week against the Saskatchewan Roughriders but played the secondary role to Cornish.

For a player who started 122 games for the Stamps, it was an adjustment. He had just four carries for 17 yards.

The 31-year-old used to play every single offensive down and use his power to wear opposing defences down. He can’t do that now.

“It was tough to get into a flow with the amount of reps I was getting,” said Reynolds, who missed the longest stretch of his CFL career.

“Had I played every down, probably by the second half, I would have said, ‘Now this feels good.’

“By the second half, I was just trying to stay warm. It didn’t help Saskatchewan had the ball the entire third quarter.”

Reynolds did get a good review from head coach John Hufnagel, and not just for what he did with the ball.

“He ran the ball like Joffrey can run it,” Hufnagel said. “He did an excellent job in his chip rules.

“On that (Romby Bryant rushing) touchdown, he made an excellent block. He was ready to play in all aspects of the game.”


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