by Taylor Shire
Trevor Harris is taking things one step at a time — literally.
For the first time since suffering a tibial plateau fracture in his right knee in Week 6 against the Calgary Stampeders, the Saskatchewan Roughriders quarterback spoke to the media about his recovery process.
“It’s been quite a journey to this point right here,” Harris told reporters at Mosaic Stadium on Wednesday.
After the injury happened on July 15, Harris couldn’t put any weight on his leg for the first few weeks, before starting to get more mobility. That led to walking with crutches, which led to walking unassisted.
Lately, he’s progressed to jogging, sled pushes/pulls and one-leg squats. He also said he’s nearing a return to field work in the coming weeks, although he didn’t provide a specific timeline for a potential return to action.
“Elated with where I’m at but still a ways to go but you can see I’m over the hump of the tough part of this rehab,” said Harris.
“I feel like I’ve tried to circle dates, tried to think about when I could be back, but I think that has kind of taken away from being in the now and just conquering one day at a time.”
Harris says he is ahead of where they thought he would be at this point in his recovery, two months after suffering the injury. He is set to meet with the surgeon on Sunday to track the progress made, before checking in again the following week.
“From there, I think we’ll develop a timetable around then,” said the quarterback.
But still for him, it’s one day at a time, which has been an important lesson in the mental toughness that he’s had to develop during his recovery process.
“It’s the first time that I had an injury I couldn’t plow through,” said the 37-year-old, who has started 101 career games in the CFL. “So, I’ve had to learn a couple lessons through this process of rehab that you have to be smart and listen to your body.”
One thing he tries to do is never let a bad moment turn into a bad day.
“Never let those bad moments stretch,” said Harris. “When I start feeling those negative things … I just never let those moments turn into bad hours or if I did have a bad hour, never let it turn into a bad entire day.”
Harris credits his mental performance coach Dr. Chantale Lussier for the mindset he has developed, which in turn has helped his recovery process.
“The mental battle has been tougher than the physical for sure,” said Harris.
As for the physical recovery, it has been tough as well, but arguably not as tough as what could have been given how he sustained the injury, with another player rolling on his leg.
“The doctor told me I was lucky that I didn’t tear an ACL because of the nature of the injury, usually your ACL goes with it,” said Harris.
Harris credits Riders’ head athletic therapist Greg Mayer, along with the rest of the team’s medical staff including Dr. Buchko and Dr. Fraser for how they have helped with his recovery. And while he can’t be on the field with his teammates quite yet, he is spending plenty of time in the meeting room watching film with the other quarterbacks.
“He’s been great,” said quarterback Jake Dolegala, who will get his fourth straight start on Friday when the Riders host the Edmonton Elks at Mosaic Stadium (7:30 p.m., TSN). “He’s in there every morning with us giving his two cents on what he’s seeing.
When that day comes when Harris is cleared to play, he will be welcomed with by open arms by his team that sits 6-6 in the West Division standings with six games to go.
“I know he wants to come back,” said Riders’ head coach Craig Dickenson. “I think we’re going to have to probably restrain him a little bit. He’s going to push.
“But when he’s ready and he tells us he’s ready, we’ll get him back out there.”
Until then, it’s one step at a time.
“Initially when I got hurt, I didn’t know if I’d ever play again,” said Harris. “If it’s this year or next year, or whatever it may be, I know it will be an emotional time and so I look forward to that.
“But honestly, I haven’t really thought about it just because I’m conquering today and then tomorrow, I’ll conquer tomorrow.”
On Wednesday, Harris also detailed a very unusual coincidence when it came to tibial plateau fractures and his family.
The quarterback said his brother-in-law suffered a tibial plateau fracture while coaching a football game, after his leg got rolled on by a player.
Then just a month after Harris’ injury, another strange event occurred.
“True story, believe it or not, about four weeks after (my injury), my parents take the dog in because he wouldn’t eat and he was limping, they were thinking gout, whatever, they do an x-ray and my dog broke his tibial plateau,” explained Harris. “Unbelievable, right.
“The fact that we had three in our family is pretty crazy.”