Long road back for Perry

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:04 AM ET

Is Fred Perry about to defy the odds?

The Edmonton Eskimos are suddenly very hopeful Perry will play again this year - even though he suffered a broken leg and dislocated ankle on July 20.

The sight of Perry being flat on his back on the Rogers Centre turf in Toronto with one leg dangling sideways will not be forgotten by many people around the Eskimo compound this year.

SURGERY

Surgery quickly followed after that fourth game of the season, leaving many feeling Perry would not play again this year.

But the veteran defensive end always had hope he would line up again this year - and now head coach Danny Maciocia is talking like that will happen.

"His recovery, rehab has been nothing short of spectacular - way, way ahead of schedule," said Maciocia.

"We never even thought he would even play this year. That is about to change.

"The thing with Fred - we need to be careful. When is he ready? Is he ready next week? Is he ready in a couple of weeks? We just need to be careful."

The Eskimos need Perry's return in a major way.

The defensive end position has been exposed for being a problem the last two weeks.

Darrell Robertson was so ineffective he was cut almost immediately after Friday's 30-23 loss in Winnipeg.

Very little pressure seems to come from the defensive end positions and opposing running backs are busting major gains to the outside.

Perry is not medically cleared to take contact practice sessions quite yet.

"Once I can run without a limp, after that I am ready," said Perry.

That might be the most important statement, showing Perry isn't quite ready.

The 33 year old ran 50 yards in drills for strength and conditioning co-ordinator Jeff Krushell yesterday.

There is a bit of a limp to his running style, but Perry might have the highest pain tolerance of anybody on the club.

The eight-year CFL veteran claims he has no pain, just some soreness when running.

If Perry receives medical clearance in the next two weeks, he has the Oct. 25 game in Regina - against his former team, the Roughriders - circled on his calendar as a game he wants to play.

"If it is left up to me, I will be there (for that game)," Perry stated.

Leading Saskatchewan with 70 defensive tackles and eight quarterback sacks last year, Perry would provide an emotional boost for the Eskimos if he can return at any point in this final month of the regular season.

He would instantly bring attention from opposing offensive lines, giving more room for the rest of his defensive linemates to find the quarterback.

ONE SACK

Edmonton only has one sack in this current two-game losing streak.

The club has to find a way to generate more pressure in the pocket, flushing the pivot or sacking him.

Perry would be one large way of solving that problem.

Scheduled to come off the nine-game injured list after Saturday's Eskimos' game against Winnipeg at Commonwealth Stadium (5 p.m., CHED), Perry's every move on the practice field will be watched starting next week.


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