Calgary Stampeders head to Hamilton with reinforcement at receiver
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CALGARY — Kamar Jorden has the chance to resume his breakout CFL season in time for the playoffs.
The Calgary Stampeders receiver was tied for the league lead in touchdowns after Week 4 with four in the air and one on the ground.
With 474 receiving yards in his first six games, Jorden was on pace for well over 1,000 this season.
But he injured a medial collateral ligament in his knee during Calgary's 60-1 blowout of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on July 29.
Ten weeks later, the six-foot-three, 203-pound slotback returns to the lineup for Friday's rematch in Hamilton.
"It definitely took a little longer," Jorden said Wednesday. "Definitely frustrating, but at the end of the day, I just focused on coming back for the playoffs and being able to help my team at the end of the year.
"I wanted to make sure when I did come back, I would be able to produce and make plays and not just be out there limping around."
Calgary (12-1-1) has already secured a home playoff date. The Tiger-Cats (4-10) have gone 4-2 in the six games since June Jones took over as head coach.
The Stampeders, who are coming off a bye week, could lock up the West Division with both a win in Hamilton and a Winnipeg Blue Bomber loss to the B.C. Lions on Saturday.
Calgary won the West last season, but was upset 39-33 in overtime by the Ottawa Redblacks in the Grey Cup.
Wideout Lemar Durant (knee) followed Jorden onto the six-game injured list in August.
A third starting receiver DaVaris Daniels (knee) has been sidelined for three games. The CFL's rookie of the year last season is a maybe for Friday.
Calgary's passing game has been serviceable in their absence, but not spectacular as quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell and some new targets adjust to each other.
The Stampeders rank seventh in the league in passing yards (4,153).
"I think we've been not quite as dynamic this year," Calgary head coach Dave Dickenson said. "We're fighting it a little bit.
"Say what you will about losing Lemar Durant as well, I thought he was having some big production early. So when we lost three guys, the other guys have stepped up, but it took awhile."
Dickenson tempered expectations for Jorden's return Friday, but hopes the 28-year-old Bowling Green product can get back up to speed in time for the post-season.
"He was one of our best and looked explosive," Dickenson said. "He gives defensive backs problems because he has size and he can beat you deep as well as run good routes.
"A physical player, a guy I thought was really the player I was hoping he would be and then that injury took him out of 10 games."
Signed to Calgary's practice roster in 2013, Jorden was enjoying the spotlight and responsibility that goes with being a starter this season.
"At the beginning of the injury, the first couple weeks, I guess I could say I was a little selfish," he said.
"I really wanted to come back and just put up numbers. I'd been here a long time and it felt good to actually be out there producing, hearing my name called and stuff like that. It was a good feeling after putting in so much work.
"But as time went on, I really started to understand that it was really about the team. We're in a position where we could get the best record in the CFL, we can go and get back in the Grey Cup and do what we didn't do last year.
"There's a lot to accomplish. I know me being healthy is the best way to help the team."
Running back Roy Finch (lower body) is on Calgary's one-game injured list, so the CFL's top returner will not play Friday.
League rushing leader Jerome Messam returns to the lineup after sitting out Calgary's 59-11 win over Montreal in Week 15 because of a neck injury.
Terry Williams, who scored scored three touchdowns filling in for Messam at running back, will handle return duties in Hamilton.