Esks' Restelli braced for return

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:17 PM ET

Mark Restelli has had enough rest, now it’s time to get on with the rest of his season.

The Edmonton Eskimos linebacker returned to practice for the first time since suffering a knee injury in Week 2 that cut his season in half.

The Cal-Poly product and second-year Eskimo’s knee bent the wrong way when he was hit by teammate Saleem Borhot while making a tackle on Montreal Alouettes running back Avon Cobourne.

The worst injury of his young career landed him on the nine-game injured list.

“The worst before that, I maybe had a shoulder separation,” Restelli said. “I’ve never had anything where I hit the ground screaming in pain.”

But he was back to work Wednesday, wearing a brace to improve stability in his knee.

“It feels great,” he said. “I feel a little more confident with it.”

Now he must show his coaches and teammates he can still play and will have to earn back a role in the linebacker corps that has stepped up in his absence.

Restelli’s’ replacement, Rod Davis, was outstanding last week, returning an interception to score the CFL’s first regular-season touchdown in a neutral stadium during the Scotiabank Touchdown Atlantic.

“They’re playing good, especially last game with Rod getting the pick for a touchdown,” Restelli said. “At this point, I’ve just got to go out there and show them that I can still run around, still play. As far as next game, maybe I get a limited role, maybe they throw me back in there and I’m doing everything. We’ll see.”

For head coach Richie Hall, who doubles as the squad’s defensive co-ordinator, Restelli’s return adds another weapon to the defence.

“He’s medically cleared, we just want to see how he is out there and make our assessment as this week goes on,” Hall said. “There’s a place for him, he’s a good football player. Any time you bring someone else on it’s going to be a domino effect, but we’re looking to get him back on the field as soon as possible.”

Although he would have been eligible to play last Sunday against the Toronto Argonauts, Restelli didn’t make the 10-day trip out east that began with a stop in Montreal.

“I ended up just staying here just rehabbing,” he said. “I was here pretty much all by myself for about 10 days. Had a little me time, got to reflect and hang out. I guess I didn’t get the lobster dinner, but I had a good Subway dinner at home.”

IN AND OUT: DT Dee Sterling injured his knee at practice Wednesday.

“They were doing some one-on-ones and he seemed like he tweaked his knee,” said Hall. “It’s been bothering him for a little bit. He didn’t look real happy about it, so I’m not sure how bad that it is.”

LB Maurice Lloyd (shoulder), DB Randee Drew (undisclosed), RB Calvin McCarty (resting) and DE Kai Ellis (undisclosed) are expected to play

“Even though we had a couple days off, we’re still kind of beat up. No different than any other team is,” Hall said. “If you can grab an extra day off from practice as far as trying to get your health back up, I think that’s beneficial.”

SB Kelly Campbell (ankle) missed last week’s game and is doubtful for Sunday against the Hamilton Tiger-cats. So is DB Lawrence Gordon (elbow), who was injured against Toronto.

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca


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