Stamps' Parker catches a break

Stampeders' Anthony Parker draws in this weekend in place of injured receiver Johnny Forzani. (QMI...

Stampeders' Anthony Parker draws in this weekend in place of injured receiver Johnny Forzani. (QMI Agency/AL CHAREST)

IAN BUSBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:26 PM ET

CALGARY - Anthony Parker feels kind of guilty for being so excited.

For the first time in his CFL career, the 2011 first-round draft pick is due to be an important part of the Calgary Stampeders offence.

However, the reason is Johnny Forzani has a bad high-ankle sprain and might be lost for the season.

"You always want to have the focus on you," Parker said after Tuesday's practice, when he almost never left the field for the first-team offence. "But you never want it to be at the expense of a teammate and friend.

"We room together when we've been on the roster at the same time. We're tight. It's unfortunate it happened. He basically wished me luck and said he was happy I would get an opportunity this week."

With Forzani out, and slotbacks Nik Lewis and Marquay McDaniel taking the day off to rest sore muscles, Parker lined up all over the field during Tuesday's practice.

It was also a chance for fellow Canadian receiver Arjei Franklin to take some reps. Stamps head coach John Hufnagel said, as of now, Parker is the expected starter in place of Forzani, but that could change.

Franklin hasn't played since the Labour Day rematch in Edmonton due to a knee injury, but he's close to being ready. He would be able to step in, if needed.

"It's been a while since I've been out there," Franklin said. "You realize how much you love the game when you haven't played it in a bit. I have the utmost confidence in Anthony, too.

"It's disappointing when you get injured, but you realize pretty quickly it's part of the game. When it does happen, your job is to get healthy. I feel I've done a good job with that, and I'm ready to contribute again."

McDaniel left Saturday's win over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers with a hamstring injury, but Hufnagel expects him to be ready to play Saturday against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (5 p.m., McMahon Stadium).

The Stamps were hoping returner/receiver Larry Taylor would be available for the big meeting against Henry Burris and Co., but Hufnagel said Taylor's about a week away.

Taylor, who also suffered a knee injury in Edmonton, spent the majority of Tuesday's practice catching passes from quarterback Drew Tate, while Kevin Glenn and Bo Levi Mitchell ran the first-team offence.

While the speed looks to have returned, Taylor wants to be comfortable with his moves before coming back.

"It's the benefit of being injured," Taylor said. "You get that recovery process. At the same time, your body gets a chance to heal up from the early part of the season.

"Hopefully, when I come back, I will feel fresh and brand new. It's a good thing for us."

With three games remaining in the regular season, the Stamps will need some production from Parker.

The University of Calgary Dinos product is ready to deliver, even if he's had no receptions in three outings this season.

This might be the right timing for him.

"When Anthony's had opportunities to make plays during the games, he's done that," Hufnagel said. "He's not disappointed me. He's on a team with a lot of talent at that position.

"He will take advantage of his opportunities. I'm confident of that."

ian.busby@sunmedia.ca

On Twitter @SUNIanBusby


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