David McKoy figures he took five spins around the Mosaic Stadium field last week and that in itself is a breakthrough.
Since Sept. 2, 2007, the Canadian receiver has found himself on the long-term injured list with a lengthy recovery and occasional setbacks due to a torn ACL.
The injury occurred on Labour Day 2007 against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers during McKoy's rookie season as a Rider. He was a promising second-round draft pick out of Guelph when his season ended.
The following season was wiped out in rehab. This season, he finally started to practice in Week 13, and when the Riders lost Johnny Quinn to a knee injury in the regular-season finale against the Calgary Stampeders, McKoy got the call to play some special teams and be a reserve receiver.
He will suit up tomorrow against the Montreal Alouettes in the Grey Cup in just his ninth CFL game in three seasons.
"You can't really put into words, but it's something special," said the 26-year-old from Cambridge, Ont.
"It was a long road. It's frustrating. I haven't played much since my rookie year. Those are the cards I was dealt and I have to deal with it."
When McKoy was drafted, he was in the same class as now teammates Adam Nicolson (eighth overall to B.C.) and Chris Getzlaf (33rd overall to Hamilton), while Rob Bagg went undrafted.
Now, all those players are ahead of him on the depth chart, and he's working back.
So far, the comeback is a success, and he's playing without a brace.
"At practice, I wear a sleeve but during the game I don't wear anything," McKoy said.
"At this point, it's a more of a mental thing.
"It's been awhile, but I was playing football a long time. Once you get your feet under you, it's just like I remember it.
"Once this game is over and we do what we need to get done, I'm looking forward to this off-season to train instead of rehab."