Stampeders' Tate boosts rehab

Calgary Stampeder quarterback Drew Tate throws the ball with his arm in a sling as he awaits...

Calgary Stampeder quarterback Drew Tate throws the ball with his arm in a sling as he awaits surgery on a shoulder injury at practice on July 23,2012 at McMahon Stadium. (QMI Agency/STUART DRYDEN)

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:49 PM ET

CALGARY - Rob Cote saw the pass get thrown on the other side of the field, turned back towards the huddle and suddenly a pass was coming his way.

Drew Tate is trying to accelerate his recovery from left shoulder surgery and the best way he knows how is to throw, even if that means joining the play late.

For the past two practices, when the Calgary Stampeders offence went through drills, the team's No. 1 quarterback would wait until the other pivot made his toss, then he would find an outlet and throw one, too.

When it first happened Tuesday, it was a surprise.

"I know what to expect now," said Cote, the veteran fullback and Tate's good friend. "He's not going to sneak one in on me.

"In theory it's weird, but it's good to see him out. He's throwing it well. He has some weight behind the ball when it's coming in. I'm happy to see it."

On Wednesday, Tate made another step in his recovery, which is well ahead of schedule. After throwing in some individual drills last week and Tuesday, Tate jumped into the skeleton team session (with no linemen).

"I didn't know if they were going to let me," Tate said. "We are so short on receivers that they had (third-string pivot) Brad Sinopoli running routes.

"I just want to get throws in. I want to walk around with a ball, because it feels like my hand is married to it, especially my index finger.

"I want that relationship to stay. I don't want it to go away and have to come back. As soon as I put on the pads, I hop in there and go."

When Tate dislocated his shoulder in Week 2 at Toronto, it initially looked like he could return in four-to-six weeks.

But because he had the same injury a year ago and had a greater chance of a dislocation reoccurring, the 27-year-old opted for surgery.

The procedure took place July 17 and the Stamps had hoped he could come back before the season is done. He was placed on the nine-game injured list and won't be eligible to come off until Sept. 28 against the Edmonton Eskimos.

Tate doesn't have any idea of a timeline, but knows he's ahead of schedule a month after the surgery.

"Without any setbacks, initially it was four to six months, but that has come down," Tate said. "I feel it's going faster than we first projected.

"I was always (doing rehab). Whatever I could do to keep bringing the timeline down by a day here or there. You have to stay on it.

"It's the only thing I can do, so it's the only thing I'm going to do. I'm not game-planning for an opponent. I don't have to worry about calling protections. I just have to worry about getting healthy and getting back to my job."

Kevin Glenn has taken over that spot and led the Stamps to two victories in five starts since Tate was hurt.

There were fan calls for a quarterback switch after Saturday's loss to the Toronto Argonauts, but Stamps GM-head coach John Hufnagel said Wednesday Glenn isn't the team's problem.

The next time the QB changes, it will likely be to Tate and not backup Bo Levi Mitchell, barring injury.

"When I believe the quarterback position isn't playing well enough, then I will make a change," Hufnagel said.

"I just don't believe that right now. In the game against Toronto, it wasn't the quarterback's fault that his teammates took themselves out of scoring position."

Tate is hoping to start travelling again on road trips, but isn't sure if he's going to Regina this weekend. In 2011, when he was injured for five weeks to start the season, he still travelled and was around the team.

Cote and some of the other offensive players enjoy having him nearby.

"It's exciting watching him out there, even just on a personal level," Cote said. "It was a tough decision to make, but he needed to get his body right."

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter @SUNIanBusby


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