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Riders quarterback Darian Durant won't return Saturday against Eskimos

11/07/2014 12:29 EST | Updated 01/07/2015 05:59 EST
REGINA - Over the last few days, it looked like Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback Darian Durant would soon be ready for game action.

Instead his absence from the lineup will be extended a little longer.

The star quarterback, who had surgery on a torn tendon in his right elbow in early September, returned to the practice field this week and participated in full workouts for the first time in nearly two months. But his name wasn't on the depth chart for Saturday's game between the Riders (9-8) and the Edmonton Eskimos (12-5) at Mosaic Stadium.

Veteran pivot Kerry Joseph will start his third consecutive game for the Riders, who have lost five straight and six of their previous seven with the 32-year-old Durant out of the lineup.

"I feel I'm pretty close to being myself," Durant said this week. "I feel good. The ball is coming off (my hand) with some authority. My spiral is still there. It's good to know that everything was put together correctly."

Earlier in the week, the chances of his return looked good. The 32-year-old quarterback ran the scout team during practices and appeared pleased with his throws.

But the coaching staff decided to give Joseph the nod, with Tino Sunseri and Seth Doege serving as backups.

The game will serve as a playoff tuneup for both teams as Edmonton has locked up the No. 2 seed and will host the CFL West Division semifinal. Depending on Week 20 results, Saskatchewan will either visit the Eskimos or head east as the crossover team.

The torn tendon was the first major injury of Durant's pro career. He wasn't sure how his body would respond after he was hurt Sept. 7 in Winnipeg.

He said the injury weighed on him mentally and emotionally as he watched his teammates struggle while he was sidelined with his right arm in a sling. He said he's pleased that he could at least return to the practice field and test things out.

"I was a little nervous the first couple days that I got going, but it's starting to come around and it's starting to feel a lot better," he said.

As for a potential playoff start, Durant said it's a little early to entertain that thought.

"Just like with any other injury, you have some good days and you have some bad days," he said. "I think we'll just wait and see how it goes, see how I feel next week and we'll go from there."

Running back Anthony Allen, whose 849 rushing yards leads the team and ranks third in the CFL, was practising at full speed this week after sitting out the previous two weeks because of back spasms.

Offensive lineman Brendon LaBatte also returned to the practice field this week. The league's top offensive lineman a year ago missed last week's game in Calgary with an undisclosed upper-body injury.

"It's really difficult for any player in this league to be fully healthy at this point in the season," said slotback Chris Getzlaf, who has been dealing with a sore quadriceps muscle for most of the season. "(Last week's bye) was a great refresher week, something that allowed us to take a little time off and work on rebuilding the body and getting it back on track.

"Any time you go into a bye week on the kind of streak that we were on it's always much needed. That's mentally and physically speaking," he added. "When you have that time to yourself and with your family and when you have that time to rest your body I think it re-energizes anybody."

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