Avery feeling just fine again

PERRY LEFKO -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:56 AM ET

There was a reason John Avery had a spring in his step in the Argos' past game.

For the first time in two years, he felt free of the pain, inflammation and aggravation he experienced in his troublesome knee. Avery rushed for 90 yards on 14 carries -- one of them a touchdown -- and had one catch for 21 yards.

The Argos lost 33-30, but may have found the high-profile running back they signed in 2004 and who has been through a physical, mental and emotional hell since because of his wonky knee.

"I've been playing hurt for so long, I finally got out there and there was no pain in my leg, and I was able to go out and do the things I've done all my life," he said yesterday.

He displayed some of the moves he did in 2002 with the Edmonton Eskimos when he led the Canadian Football League in rushing that season with 1,448 yards.

He hasn't been the same since, because of the knee injury he suffered with the Minnesota Vikings in the 2003 season. He lasted only six games, then underwent major reconstructive knee surgery to repair cartilage. That type of injury normally takes six to eight months of rehab, followed by a gradual return to running, which collectively could take a year. And it's been said a high-level athlete normally doesn't exhibit a full mental and physical recovery from major knee surgery until the second year after the surgery.

"Since my surgery I've been putting my body back together and (Labour Day) was like the first day I felt like me again," he said. "I was able to make a guy miss at will, outrun a guy and just take off around the corner. "I was excited and I thought we would pretty much get the vibe that I was ready to go, but this is an offence where regardless of how I feel, we may be up in carries, down in carries. I have to be as effective as I can with those opportunities."

Avery won't have the benefit of a full week of recovery time between games because the Argos and Tiger-Cats meet Saturday.

"I don't know if I'm going to be feeling great within five days," he said. "I play hard and a lot of people may not understand that during the course of the game I may be one-on-one (blocking) 300-pound guys 15-20 times a game. To do it all over (this quickly) is tough on your body, I don't care how big you are ... But at the same time that's what I signed up for."

BRIEFLY

Slotback Jean-Frederic Tremblay suffered an elbow laceration and leg injury in the last game and will be placed on the injured list and replaced by R. Jay Soward, who missed four games with a rotator cuff injury ... Hamilton has signed offensive lineman Mark Moroz whom the Argos cut last week after drafting him in the first round last year.


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