CALGARY - JíMicheal Deane is finding sometimes the biggest steps arenít even steps at all.
The latest big one in his recovery from a horrific broken fibula last season against the Toronto Argonauts was just him standing in place.
Of course, this time, it was on his surgically repaired leg, carrying all of his 312-lb. and going up to his tip-toes.
On Tuesday, this felt like a major point in the Calgary Stampeders offensive linemanís road to the 2012 training camp.
ďIt was pretty cool,Ē said Deane, who has been working out with teammates at McMahon Stadium.
ďAt first, I did it on my other leg and then did the bad one. It took me a second to think about doing it. I just havenít done it in so long.
ďI had a hesitation. I didnít want to take those steps. I was thinking I should be going slower down stairs. I was just walking down the stairs regularly and thought to myself, ĎWhen did this happen?í Ē
When Deane was lying on the turf in Toronto Oct. 14, it was easy to fear the worst.
Playing as a tight end, Deane rolled out to block on a Drew Tate rushing attempt, but the pile rolled over on the Stampeders rookie. When he came over to his back, Deaneís leg had a right turn where no joint was supposed to be.
It was an ugly scene, but at least it was a clean break.
Tate was shaken up at the time, so no one is happier that Deane is expected in full training camp practice than the Stampeders quarterback.
ďTo see him after all that and how you can bounce back and still be hungry, itís a lot of mental toughness,Ē Tate said. ďIt says a lot about him.Ē
The road back wasnít an easy one for Deane. He was in a boot until Christmas and then went about the process of getting back in shape. As bad as the injury was, the 26-year-old doesnít expect to have any tentativeness in coming back to the contact sport that football is.
ďIíve been rolled on so many times, itís just a matter of time before somebody caught me really good,Ē Deane said.
ďI wouldnít say Iím going to be tentative to run the play again.
ďItís football and you have to play each one like itís your last. On that play, I gave everything I could to secure a first down.
ďIt crossed my mind for a second and thought this might be it. I thought about other guys who have had this injury and I canít just hang up my pads because Iím scared.
ďAs of right now, I feel more confident than I did a month or two ago. There is virtually no pain left.Ē
DRAFT CLASS LOCKED UP
The Stampeders announced all their available picks from last monthís draft have signed and will participate in rookie camp starting next Thursday at McMahon Stadium. Inking deals Wednesday are DB Keenan MacDougall, OL Mike Filer, DL Jordan Spence and LB Wilkerson DeSouza. First-round pick DL Ameet Pall had already signed a contract.