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Argos get Andre Durie back for game against Stampeders, but not Chad Owens

09/12/2014 06:21 EDT | Updated 11/12/2014 05:59 EST
CALGARY - Receiver Chad Owens is a week away from returning to the Toronto Argonauts but slotback Andre Durie is back.

Durrie, 33, of Mississauga, Ont., has been out since suffering a broken collarbone the second game of the season. But he'll play Saturday when the Argos (3-7) visit the Calgary Stampeders (9-1), who boast the CFL's stingiest defence.

Owens, the CFL's outstanding player in 2012, has appeared in just four games this season yet remains the team's leading receiver with 431 yards.

After missing four games with a foot injury, Owens returned to action Aug. 23 in Edmonton, only to suffer a leg ailment. Toronto head coach Scott Milanovich expects Owens will be ready to play next week against the B.C. Lions.

Injuries have plagued Toronto's receiving corps this season so quarterback Ricky Ray is pleased he will have the familiar target of Durie on Saturday. Durie, an eight-year Argo, had three touchdown catches and 986 receiving yards in 2013.

"His ability is to make those ordinary plays into big plays," Ray said Friday at McMahon. "Instead of them tackling us and making us punt, he's able to make that first (tackler) miss and keep the chains moving.

"Those are the easy plays you need to have to change field position, to have some of those big plays that kind of gets everybody excited and builds momentum for you. He's that guy for us and we need to have him back."

The Stampeders want a win to remain in sole possession of first place in the West Division. Toronto also needs the victory as it enters weekend action tied with Montreal for top spot in the East despite its losing record.

Calgary and Toronto met in the 100th Grey Cup in 2012 with the Argos posting a 35-22 win at Rogers Centre.

Toronto has won three of its last four games at McMahon, including last season's 33-27 victory Sept. 21. That was Calgary's lone loss at home in a season in which they went 14-4.

"There's some feel-good moments that our players have had here," Milanovich acknowledged. "That's always a positive, but it's a different season, new teams and a great football team we're playing so we'll have our hands full."

The Stampeders are minus a full practice in their preparation for Toronto because of freak summer snowstorms in southern Alberta. Calgary was limited to a walk-through in ankle-deep snow Wednesday.

But the last of the snow was cleared from McMahon on Friday. The forecast for Saturday's kickoff was 10 C.

Toronto is coming off a bye week preceded by a 13-12 defeat in Hamilton on Labour Day. Calgary swept a home-and-home series with Edmonton after the two clubs were tied for the overall CFL lead two weeks ago.

Saturday's game would appear to be a mismatch on paper but Toronto might be a test of Calgary's concentration after an unusual week.

Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell prefers to see their abbreviated prep as extra rest they can use at this point in the season.

"The physical reps weren't there, but you got a lot more mental reps this week and that's big," Mitchell said. "It's big to have a lot more extra time looking at your game plan, looking over things, seeing more film because that's more things you get to see together as a group and be able to talk about.

"It doesn't hurt to take a little break on the legs. It'll help some guys get their bodies back under them a little bit and come out hot."

Stampeder running back Jon Cornish is in contention for a third straight CFL rushing title despite missing six games in July and August with concussion symptoms. The CFL's outstanding player last year has posted consecutive games of over 100 yards.

Cornish is ranked seventh but trails leader Nic Grigsby of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers by only 210 yards.

Toronto needs strong punting from Swayze Waters to minimize the damage Cornish can do, but the key will be to just hang on to the ball, Milanovich said. The Argos lead in the league in turnovers (29), while Calgary has the fewest (11).

"You protect the football. That's it," he said. "I can talk about the things that need to be done (Saturday) to beat this football team, stop Cornish, score in the red zone and all those things. But ultimately the only thing that matters is who holds on to the football."

Toronto will remain in Calgary next week preparing for Friday's game against the Lions. With temperatures predicted to return to a more seasonal norms, the prospect of an extended stay was more enjoyable.

"The west coast trips take a lot out of you," Milanovich said. "We did the same thing a year ago. We played here and went up to Edmonton.

"I think it's a good thing for the team to be together and spend a week together. It breaks up the monotony of the routine and a long season. Calgary is a great city. Our guys enjoyed it last year. Hopefully they're not enjoying it too much. They like the per diem too."

NOTES — Calgary cornerback Quincy Butler will play for the first time since he was added to the practice roster two weeks ago in place of injured Buddy Jackson . . . Owens did not travel with the Argos to Calgary but will join the team this weekend, according to Milanovich . . . Ray leads the CFL in touchdown throws (16) followed by Mitchell (15).

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