Getting hurt, going on nine-game injured list disheartening for Koch
Eskimos receiver could still back before the end of the season
EDMONTON - This was not the direction that the best season of Cary Koch’s career was supposed to go.
The 27-year-old Edmonton Eskimos slotback was enjoying his growing role in the offence. He was 166 receiving yards from a career high when his left leg was rolled on during the rematch of the Labour Day game with the Calgary Stampeders on Sept. 6.
Last Friday, the Eskimos moved their second-best pair of hands to the nine-game injured list.
Koch had 42 catches for 516 yards and four touchdowns in 10 games. He had 685 yards and seven majors in 2012, after joining the Eskimos as a free agent from the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
“I think that finally it hit me last week, watching the game from the sideline, that I am hurt,” Koch said on Tuesday.
“I got placed on the nine-game, which is not just disheartening, but it was disheartening that I got hurt. I can’t help the team out anymore. Now it’s just about getting better each day, coming into rehab and getting my knee stronger.”
The good news was that Koch didn’t tear any knee ligaments.
“It’s nothing that requires surgery or anything. I’m going to rehab and get my knee stronger … and go from there. There’s no surgery required and that’s a blessing. It could have been a lot worse,” he said.
Adarius Bowman’s return to the lineup softens the blow for the Eskimos. Bowman tied Fred Stamps for the team lead with 1,153 receiving yards in 2011, but missed 16 games in 2012 and the first nine this season as he recovered from knee surgery. In two games this year, Bowman has 12 catches for 136 yards and a TD.
“I was super excited to play again with Adarius and only got what, two games with him last year?” Koch said. “I don’t even get a quarter in with him this year and I get hurt.
“(Bowman) was exciting to be around and play with and he adds another weapon to our squad. To have me and him out there would have been nice.”
Eskimos head coach Kavis Reed still hopes to get Koch back before the end of the season. CFL teams are allowed to take two players off the nine-game list early each year. Defensive end Brandon Lang was activated early this past week.
Backup RBs kept busy at practice
Veteran Calvin McCarty and rookie Jamal Miles were busy taking turns at running back in Tuesday’s practice, with starter Hugh Charles and backup John White on the sidelines.
Reed said Charles is nursing the hamstring injury that kept him out of the recent home-and-home series with Calgary, but his starter will still play at Winnipeg on Friday. White missed Saturday’s win over the Bombers and appears to be doubtful this week.
“We’ve worked Calvin a lot today and Hugh will be playing, Hugh will be practising (Wednesday), there’s no doubt about that,” Reed said. “It’s the same protocol that we used last week with Hugh, given that he has a little muscular strain and we want to make certain that we are smart with him.
“We’re confident that if Calvin has to play, he can carry the load. He was the reason why the last two years that we had all of the controversy (at running back), because of his performance. Calvin will do a good job and we’re very confident in Jamal. Jamal got in a number of reps (on Tuesday) that will allow us to do a lot of things, as well.”
Miles played some receiver on Tuesday as well, filling in for slotback Fred Stamps, who Reed often sits through the week to get his star slotback ready for game days.
On defence, Reed said cornerback Chris Rwabukamba will likely miss Saturday’s game with a knee injury. Eric Samuels will fill in for him.
On Twitter: @olearychris
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