TORONTO — Chad Kackert is slowly getting back into football shape.
With a metal plate, eight screws, and two long pins holding his ankle together since November of last year, you can imagine the process of getting back in a football mindset has not been easy.
“This is probably the worst injury I have had since I have been a competitive athlete,” said Kackert.
While preparing for the Eastern Final against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last November, Kackert broke, well, shattereD, his left ankle during practice and has been on the road to recovery ever since.
“I have taken small victories ever since the first surgery,” explained Kackert about the rehabilitation process.
“My first victory was when I could put it past my hip without it throbbing. Then I could gently stand on it with the cast on and the crutches underneath my arms. Then I could walk with the cast,” he added.
It has been just over three weeks since the 100th Grey Cup MVP has been cast free. The screws are out and he is walking under his own power.
Now is where the real work begins.
“Because I have been immobile with it for so long, and the injury was so serious, I have to re-teach the muscles in my leg how to work. The focus now becomes getting my range of motion back while strengthening (the muscles).”
Kackert has been a through a Jekyll and Hyde whirlwind the past two seasons in Double Blue. There was the Jekyll: Being appointed the starting running back midway through the 2012 campaign, compiling 850 all-purpose yards, and the pinnacle, being named the 100th Grey Cup MVP in an Argos victory.
Then there’s the Hyde that was 2013. Nine games on the injured list, two more on the reserved list, and rock bottom, the broken ankle that forced him to watch his teammates play in the Eastern Final confined to a wheelchair on the sidelines of Rogers Centre.
Despite the negatives that came from 2013, Kackert is remaining optimistic that he will be back to the “Kack Attack” in 2014.
“I’m going to be on the elliptical and standup bike a lot in the upcoming weeks to try and get the foot used to feeling a little bit of pressure. Everything will come back. I just have to keep telling myself that it takes time.”
For Kackert and the rest of the CFL, that timeline includes a few more months.
Veteran players report for 2014 training camps on May 31. Veterans, rookies and quarterbacks are expected to take the field for the first time together on June 1.