At long last Rider Nation got some good news on Monday morning.
Quarterback Darian Durant met with reporters for nearly 20 minutes, standing the entire time, answering questions about how recovery from his torn Achilles is going and the state of the team.
“I’m ahead of schedule actually. (I’m) feeling great,” said Durant.
“(I’m) feeling good, ready to take the next step in my rehab and just looking forward to next year.”
Just over four months after going down in the first half against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on June 27, Durant feels he’s actually about a month ahead of schedule. Should he continue to progress at his current rate, Durant will actually be able to work out and practice on the field as hard as he can come January.
At this moment, he’s recovered from the surgery and now it’s time to regain strength and confidence physically.
In order to be as ready as he can for next season, Durant will spend most of his off-season in Regina, rather than going home to Atlanta.
“Just trying to get a training schedule that can put me in the best shape possible to try and keep me on the field,” he said.
“I just want to be around (Dressler) a little bit more and be able to throw to him throughout the whole off-season. Just because I’ve been out of football for so long I want to stay here.”
“If I can get in there and stay healthy and work with the guys on a consistent basis, we’ll be back at the top.” – Quarterback Darian Durant.
Even right now, Durant could be out of the field practicing but with the dropping temperatures and wet conditions lately, the turf at Mosaic Stadium is a little slick; Durant and the team have decided to play is safe.
Not being able to be on the field when he can is a challenge for Durant. His uber-competitive nature always draws him to be out there with his teammates.
“Each and every day I come in I start feeling a little better. I’m asking to do more and more but I have to calm myself down and stay within the schedule of things,” said Durant.
Durant credits being ahead of schedule to his genetics that have allowed him to quickly heal from many injuries in the past and eating right.
Even though Durant is healing at a quicker pace than originally thought – something that Durant admits surprises him – some will question whether the pivot will be able to return next season and be the same old Darian Durant.
“I won’t be the same quarterback, I’ll be better,” said Durant.
“My arm is stronger than it’s ever been. There’s no history that I look at that shows nobody not returning from an Achilles.”
The question now is what will this team look like when Durant does rejoin them on the field for mini-camp in April? Durant knows that change is inevitable, but when push comes to shove, he feels he can be the missing piece.
Durant feels this team does have some good players to build around.
“Every year I’ve been in there (Dressler) has been a 1,000-yard receiver and he’s not lost a step at all,” he said.
“If I can get in there and stay healthy and work with the guys on a consistent basis, we’ll be back at the top.”