Hughes, Best back at Riders' practice

Bartel also likely to return
Reported by Joel Gasson
Change text size: + -

The Rider roster is about to get a big boost.

Thanks to some extra days off this week, the Saskatchewan Roughriders appear to be getting some key players back from the injured list. Fullback Neal Hughes and offensive lineman Chris Best are eligible to come off the six-game injured list and have been practicing all week.

"It's been very tough to sit on the sidelines, obviously I want to be out there," said Hughes, who's been out since week two with a foot injury. "It's a great feeling practicing with the guys."

Hughes has been easing his way back into practice. He worked out a little bit last week, something he is allowed to do new under the new rules of the six-game injured list.

It's been a long haul for Hughes after he tore some tendons in his heel.

"You're always walking on it," said Hughes. "I've got two kids at home, so, I can't really sit on the couch all day."

Everything appears to be healed up enough for Hughes to at least strap on the pads and play this week. A return that should provide a big boost to the special-teams unit.

It's a move head coach Corey Chamblin hopes can happen.

"That would be awesome, he's definitely one of my favourite players," said Chamblin. "The way that he practices and the energy that he brings. I think that would be a good reward for him, he's put in a lot of hard work and it hadn't paid off for him yet. So, hopefully this is it for him."

The offensive line is also poised to get some help with Best likely back in the trenches. Best is coming off a broken thumb, something that restricted him in some surprising ways.

"Like even playing Trivial Pursuit," he said. "Trying to put those little pod pieces in. I almost quit that game I was so mad I couldn't do it. Just the little things."

It's the second straight year Best has spent significant time on the injured list, so what did he learn from that experience to apply to this year?

"I wish I could say patience but that's not the case," he said. "Just when you're hurt, you can't blame yourself, can't get down on yourself. Just got to stay in the gym as much as you can and just keep working hard."

Also look for punter Josh Bartel to return to the line-up.

News and notes

Head coach Corey Chamblin still hasn't named a starting quarterback but did suggest it would likely be Tino Sunseri on Monday when the Riders take on the Montreal Alouettes.

[email protected]
Follow on Twitter: @JGasson_21
Follow on Twitter: @homeofthefans