Van Zeyl healing with zeal

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:25 PM ET

Chris Van Zeyl’s zeal for football is infectious, his passion for the pigskin is genuine and his recuperative powers are nothing short of amazing.

Whether the right tackle returns to his starting position this Friday is a decision that rests with the Argos’ coaching staff, but there was Van Zeyl on the practice field at a time when many figured he’d be confined to the trainer’s room.

In the second week of the season, Van Zeyl stepped back like he normally does when protecting Cleo Lemon’s frontside in pass blocking when his right foot, the all-important plant foot, gave out in Winnipeg.

It was later discovered that Van Zeyl tore his plantar fascia, a debilitating injury that was expected to sideline the McMaster product for as long as six weeks.

Incredibly, Van Zeyl is practising again, assured by the team’s medical staff that every possible avenue has been explored to prevent a recurrence.

“It feels pretty good,’’ he said. “I feel I’m ready to play if I’m asked to play.”

Wednesday marks the final practice day for the Argos before they wing it to Edmonton.

Van Zeyl is expected to return as the Argos re-adjust their import/non-import ratio in the wake of injuries to Adriano Belli and Etienne Legare.

Import defensive tackle Eric Taylor is expected to take Belli’s starting assignment at defensive tackle, making his regular-season debut as an Argo against an Edmonton team that brought Taylor to the CFL.

By starting an American, an American must sit elsewhere, which likely means Shannon Boatman gets bumped to the non-active list.

Van Zeyl lost his spot because of injury, not because of poor play.

His routine of getting himself in a position to come back began with daily visits to the trainer’s room at the crack of dawn.

“Deep-tissue massages, ultrasound, lasers, strengthening the area, everything was done,’’ Van Zeyl said.

“Given the nature of this injury, you can’t rush back, but I’m practising on it.”

Every time he drops back, Van Zeyl is applying pressure on the foot.

He lines up on the right side of the offensive line, which means his first step is to use his right foot.

“I’m kicking back on it every single time,’’ he continued. “Every possible scenario in practice has been put to the test.”

All that awaits is official word of Van Zeyl’s return.


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