Stampeders expect Roughriders' Durant to be 100%

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:03 AM ET

CALGARY - Darian Durant will face the Calgary Stampeders despite a hip flexor injury that will slow his running ability.

Pish-posh, says Juwan Simpson.

If Durant is playing on Sunday, then Simpson is sure he’s going to be able to run full speed.

Why else would the Saskatchewan Roughriders pivot be out there?

“I don’t think he’s going to play like he’s injured,” said Simpson, the Stampeders middle linebacker.

“He’s a competitor.

“Regardless of whether he’s hurt or not, we probably won’t know. He will still run the ball.

“This is a big game for both organizations. I expect him to be 100%, contrary to what they may say. Him 100% mentally is just like him 100% physically.”

Durant sat out last week’s visit to Montreal (a 28-17 loss), while Drew Willy took over.

While Willy showed flashes and kept the Riders close, he made some rookie errors, such as taking sacks and throwing wayward passes.

Durant gives the Riders the best chance to win, even if he’s not quite himself in this pivotal divisional matchup.

“Guys play with nicks and bruises all the time,” Simpson said.

“I fully expect him to be capable of playing. That’s the mentality I have going in. If I go in thinking anything less, then I’ve shorted myself and the team.”

When Durant is on his game, he makes things happen by evading pressure and extending plays.

During games where he’s had success against the Stampeders, his running ability has given him an edge.

Durant admitted to the Regina media Friday he’s not quite 100%, calling himself ‘somewhat pain-free,’ but said he would play as long as head coach Corey Chamblin allows him to.

“It’s fine,” Durant said when questioned about his running ability.

“Of course, it’s not where it was or where I want it to be, but they’re still going to have a hard time bringing me down inside the pocket.

“Once I’m outside, as far as running and sprinting all-out, I think that will be the biggest question. As far as my in-pocket mobility and getting away from pressure and things like that, I’ll be fine.”

Stampeders defensive lineman Kenny Pettway is coming back from a bone bruise on his heel that kept him from playing last week, so he knows what Durant is feeling fighting through a lower-body injury.

“(The hip) is a big part of running,” Pettway said.

“If it doesn’t feel good, you need to rest to get it back to 100%.

“You never want to put bad stuff on film. Even with his hip hurt, I think he can still break some tackles. With a 100% hip, we have to be on him all the time.”

The gameplan will be the same against Durant as it always was when the Stamps face the Riders.

Keep Durant contained and make him throw quicker than he wants to.

The Stamps know they can’t let him squirm away, as he often does.

“Guys like him with strong lower bodies and who are fast, you have to rush the passer a bit different,” Pettway said.

“When you wrap him up, you have to make sure you hold on because he’s strong enough to take you for a ride.”


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