Restelli rested and ready

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:35 AM ET

EDMONTON -- His knee needed rest, now Mark Restelli needs his knee.

The linebacker will start in his first game since bending his leg out of shape in Week 2 as his Edmonton Eskimos look to salvage a shoddy season with a win Saturday over the B.C. Lions.

Their third meeting of the season will decide which team claims the season series and will go a long way to securing a playoff foothold.

But the Eskimos will have to do it without the services of middle linebacker Maurice Lloyd, who injured his ribs last week in Hamilton.

"We did do that three times last year," Restelli said of playing without Lloyd in the lineup. "It's a big hit, he's such a smart player out there and he definitely controls the defence. He knows every aspect of it."

Playmaker Rod Davis, who has been a standout while standing in for Restelli all season, will move to the middle while Restelli resumes his role opposite T.J. Hill.

"We all played together last year, me, Rod and Mo, so I know we hate to not have him out there but we'll be all right with putting Rod at Mike (middle linebacker)."

It will almost be a tryout, of sorts, for both the team and Restelli considering how long it's been since he last played prior to suffering the worst injury of his career.

"It's definitely a tryout, if not for the team then for myself," said Restelli. "I feel confident out on the field with my knee but I won't truly know until game time.

"I feel confident, the coaches feel confident. If they didn't feel confident they wouldn't just throw me back in. They put me back in there, I know what I'm doing so I'm going to just go out there and play."

But as good as he's feeling physically, Restelli said he's in just as good a spot mentally.

"I've been in a great mood all week just because I'm back out on the field," he said. "I don't like sitting there watching practice and once I get back on the field running, I get my mood up and get my adrenaline pumping.

"I feel just like I did before my injury."

Whether he will be able to perform at the same level he set for himself last year as a rookie will be left up to the Lions offence to test.

"Maybe so, maybe not," said Eskimos head coach Richie Hall.

"The bottom line is that he's not a young guy going out there. He played a whole year for us last year. He's just itching to get out there," Hall said.

"If they decide to try and attack him, well he's very hungry, he's very anxious and he's very excited to go out there and play. So that just gives him more opportunities to make plays."

IN AND OUT: MLB Maurice Lloyd sat out of practice all week and is doubtful for Saturday. S Saleem Borhot returned to practice for the first time since being placed on the nine-game list.

BELL TOLLS: Eskimos FB Graeme Bell turns 30 years old Friday. The veteran fullback took over grilling duties along with FB Chris Ciezki and Derek Schiavone in the weekly post-practice, team-building barbecue following K Noel Prefontaine's trade to Toronto.


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