SPORTS

Riders head coach Chamblin says Durant's status a game-time decision

07/25/2013 06:29 EDT | Updated 09/24/2013 05:12 EDT
The boot was off but Saskatchewan Roughriders head coach Cory Chamblin won't rush his decision regarding quarterback Darian Durant's status.

Durant took limited reps in practice Thursday after missing Wednesday's session with his injured right foot back in a walking boot. Chamblin will wait as long as he can before deciding whether Durant will play Saturday in Guelph, Ont., versus the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

"It is a game-time decision and I really mean that," Chamblin told reporters. "He did enough (Thursday) to where he made it through and he got the reads that he needed.

"If it doesn't swell up and do all of those other things, we'll probably see him on game day."

Durant, 30, injured his foot in a 39-28 road win over the Toronto Argonauts on July 11. He wore the boot early last week before shedding it to resume practising and eventually start against Hamilton.

Durant showed no signs Sunday of the foot bothering him, completing 20-of-32 passes for 347 yards and four TDs in a convincing 37-0 home win over the Ticats. Durant also ran twice for 18 yards and was named the CFL's offensive player of the week.

But Durant said Wednesday the foot began bothering him after the game and he put the boot back on to take pressure off it.

Saskatchewan (4-0) is the CFL's only unbeaten team and Durant has been a big part of that. Durant has thrown a league-leading 12 TD passes and has yet to surrender an interception.

But if Durant can't play, sophomore Drew Willy would make his second career CFL start.

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RAY STATUS: The Toronto Argonauts will give quarterback Ricky Ray two days off before deciding whether he'll play Tuesday night against the B.C. Lions.

Ray injured his left knee in Toronto's 35-19 road win over Winnipeg last week. It's the same knee Ray hurt last year that forced him to miss three late-season starts before returning to lead the Argos on their Grey Cup march.

Argos head coach Scott Milanovich said Ray experienced some pain in the knee during a workout Wednesday.

"What he's going to do is take (Friday) and Saturday off and we're going to see if he can go (Sunday)," Milanovich told reporters Thursday. "If he's unable to go then we'll do in a different direction."

And that would be having sophomore Zach Collaros start against B.C. But Milanovich said ultimately Ray will decide if he faces the Lions.

"If he tells me he's healthy he's going to play," Milanovich said. "I'm not going to be scared.

"It's football and there's no avoiding the hits and things like that. If he's not feeling healthy, for sure, we're going to be cautious with him.''

Ray has a league-high 1,203 passing yards with eight TDs and no interceptions. Ray was an outstanding 19-of-20 passing for 286 yards and two TDs against Winnipeg before being injured.

Collaros and Trevor Harris rotated against Winnipeg after Ray left. Harris was 3-of-5 passing for 66 yards while Collaros completed the only pass he threw for five yards.

"We like them both," Milanovich said. "We think Zach's a little bit better fit for this team and the style of defence they (Lions) play.

"He's going to run around, he's a playmaker and can still drop back and pass and hopefully make a good decision with the football.''

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STREAK CONTINUES: Calgary kicker Rene Paredes will get a second shot at Paul McCallum's CFL record of 30 straight field goals Friday night against Winnipeg.

Paredes booted four field goals in Calgary's 38-27 win over Montreal last week. He lined up a 34-yard try with just over a minute remaining to tie McCallum's mark but it was blocked by Alouettes defensive lineman John Bowman.

However, thanks to an obscure CFL rule, Parades' streak remains intact. The ball didn't pass the line of scrimmage and therefore statistically no attempt was made despite Bowman being credited with the block.

Applying the logic of the rule, Bowman should've been awarded a forced fumble and fumble recovery as he ran down the bouncing ball afterwards. In the NFL, the play would've been ruled a blocked field goal and McCallum's record would remain intact.

"By rule, for a kicked ball to be considered either a legal punt or field goal attempt, the ball MUST cross the line of scrimmage," CFL statistician Steve Daniel said in an email. "For example, a blocked kick that remains behind the line of scrimmage may be recovered and advanced legally by either team as in a fumble (which the kicker receives).

"A good way to think of the attempt itself is the role of the defence: through defensive effort they try to 'prevent' yards from being gained or attempts from being made as in the example of a sack. The analogy in QB sacks then — a passer drops back and is attempting to pass — if sacked he is unable to get off an attempt – same as a FG kicker who gets his kick blocked.

"So yes, Paredes was of course 'kicking" the ball . . . but was 'prevented' from making a legal attempt by defensive effort. So in the end, 'prevent' may well be a better term here than 'block.'"

It's ironic that Paredes is being allowed to continue pursuing McCallum's mark. Paredes has actually made 37 straight field goals dating back to last year, including playoffs, but is only being credited with the 29 he's hit during the regular season.

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WEST DOMINANCE: The early-season indication is the CFL's power base is in the West Division.

Three teams — Saskatchewan, Calgary and B.C. — all have winning records, led by the Roughriders' 4-0 mark. In the East Division, Toronto (2-2) is the lone club not under .500.

West Division teams are a perfect 6-0 in head-to-head matchups with their East rivals, having outscored them 190-105. This week Calgary visits Winnipeg, Hamilton hosts Saskatchewan and B.C. tangles with Toronto at Rogers Centre.

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THIS 'N THAT: There's one important reason why the Saskatchewan Roughriders are unbeaten. The West Division leaders simply don't beat themselves.

Heading into this week's action, the Riders are a solid plus-9 in the takeway-giveaway ratio. Most impressive, though, is the club has turned the ball over once this season, that being on a fumble.

By comparison, the Montreal Alouettes (1-3) have forced a league-high 13 takeaways but have committed 11 turnovers to stand just plus-2 overall.

Winnipeg (1-3) has 14 turnovers, tops in the CFL, and has the worst overall ratio at minus-9.

Saskatchewan's Kory Sheets is the CFL's rushing leader with 572 yards, the highest total ever through four games to start a season. The record for five contests is 646 yards recorded in '75 by Calgary's Willie Burden. Sheets needs 75 or more yards Saturday against Hamilton to break Burden's mark.

Sheets rushed for 125 yards in Saskatchewan's 37-0 win over Hamilton on Sunday.

Slotback Geroy Simon had two catches for 38 yards in his Riders' debut, last week's 37-0 home win over Hamilton. Simon — already the CFL's all-time receiving yards leader with 15,825 — needs 27 receptions to break Ben Cahoon's league record of 1,017.

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