Darian Durant practices, will play Friday in Calgary

Riders pivot told foot should start to heal without major contact or setback
Reported by Joel Gasson
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The Saskatchewan Roughriders returned to practice late Monday morning and they did so with their quarterback on the field.

Even though it took Darian Durant a few minutes to do so, he was out there in full pads without a protective boot he's been wearing lately, taking part in the bulk of practice like he normally does.

Knowing the question was coming, head coach Corey Chamblin let it be known Durant will start before any of the reporters asked.

"Darian is playing," blurted Chamblin with a chuckle. "Good break for us, he did a good job coming back running with the team. He's practicing and it's not in a limited fashion."

Chamblin also said that Durant could have played two weeks ago against the Tiger-Cats but with the bye week on the horizon they ended up giving him some extra time off. It was also a good opportunity for the team to get a look at backup quarterback Drew Willy.

Durant obviously wanted to play.

"It bothered me a lot. It was a terrible experience, besides the win," said Durant. "I'm sure this goes for all competitors."

That being said Durant does understand the decision and knows that it's a good thing for Willy to see some time behind centre, just in case.

"You never know. Just like that was a game time decision, something could happen and he could have to go in," said Durant. "It also builds the confidence of the team."

The bye week appears to have done Durant some good, as he looked pretty good in practice and wasn't limited in anyway. Even though neither he nor Chamblin would put a percentage on his foot, Durant did say he feels pretty good.

It was a different bye week for Durant as he actually went home for the week, instead of staying in Regina like he has in the past. Despite that, he said it didn't affect the rehab on his foot, as the teams doctors sent him home with all of the equipment he'd need.

"I did pretty much the same things I'd do here," said Durant, who added the only sort of set back was on the flight there and back. "Being up in the air, things swell up a little bit."

Durant also joked that hopefully leaving for the bye week would be good luck for his team, as they've never won a Grey Cup in a year where he's stayed in Regina.

It appears the worst of it is over for Durant as the doctors have also told him unless someone lands on his foot or he suffers another major set back it should start to heal from now on.

"The goal is to make sure I stay with my treatment," said Durant. "Hopefully I don't take a big hit."

Taking a big hit is something other teams in the league will definitely be trying to do as they would any week, but now especially as it could help them out by either limiting Durant or perhaps even take him out of the game.

"The thing is I have 5 to 7 big guys in front of me making sure they take care of me," he said. "They can help me out a lot."

News and notes:

- Riders FB Neal Hughes was back practicing with the team, he'd been on the injured since the start of the regular season. Chamblin couldn't say if he'd play this week or not.

- LB Mike McCullough, who had his cast taken off his arm before the bye week, was out practicing a little bit on Monday. He wasn't in full pads, but did have his helmet on and took part in a few drills.

- A new face was at practice on Monday, the team signed import running back/returner Matt Brown. You may remember Brown was set to sign with the Riders in off season, but an expired passport kept him from coming to Regina. It worked out well for Brown who signed with the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His passport has obviously since been renewed, and he was recently cut from Bucs training camp.