As his Argonauts teammates chug along in a season that will hold good memories for few, Andre Talbot can't help but think of what could have been.
A ankle/foot injury has kept the Toronto-born slotback out of the lineup since mid-July and he has tried to prepare himself for the reality he might not play again in 2009.
"My whole life as an athlete, since I was freaking 3-years old, all I have done is run," Talbot, dressed in an oversized grey Argos track suit, said yesterday. "And for 21/2 months now, I have not even jogged.
"It's a nightmare. Groundhog Day -- have you seen that movie? It's like that. Wake up, treatment. Afternoon, treatment. You keep expecting one day to kind of miraculously feel great and run, but that has not come."
Talbot jumped to catch a pass in Calgary during a game against the Stampeders on July 17 and when he landed, his lower right leg was in terrible shape. He suffered torn ligaments in his ankle and bone bruising in his ankle joint, and that bruising, slow to heal, keeps Talbot on the sideline.
The Argos, 3-9 and with the Montreal Alouettes next on their schedule, are going nowhere. But had Talbot been healthy, their problems with non-import receivers might have been a mere blip.
In 2008, Talbot caught 76 passes and had 915 receiving yards, a couple of personal highs that helped make him the Argos' nominee for outstanding Canadian in the Canadian Football League. Without the 31-year-old Laurier grad, the Argos have dressed a young Canadian receiving corps that has been hampered by inexperience.
The trading of Arland Bruce, the team's best receiver, also caused damage.
"We are going through a cycle of change here, a lot of young guys, and a young coaching staff as far as CFL experience goes," Talbot said. "When you are young, you do not necessarily take ownership of the team and of your teammates. You have to believe in the next year or two, it is going to change."
Talbot is not sure whether he will back in the Double Blue with just six games remaining. Afternoons spent in a hyperbaric chamber are gone, but Talbot now spends time at a rehab centre, walking on an underwater treadmill to get his ankle strength back.
"It's definitely all I think about -- the year that could have been and how much I could have helped these guys out," Talbot said. "After a year like I had, I wanted to just boom, boom, boom, build on it. Now, am I going to be able to play again, run again, everything goes through your head. It's frustrating in every aspect."