Photo Scott Grant / CFLPhotoArchive.com
Photo Scott Grant / CFLPhotoArchive.com

It’s in Mike Reilly’s blood, the cheetah-like, fast-healing ability.

That’s why the Lions franchise quarterback never once had even a single thought about coming out of the game against Hamilton.

“You can always tell if you look at a players’ face if they’re really hurt,” head coach DeVone Claybrooks said about checking on Reilly after he rolled his ankle on the Tim Hortons Field turf.

“He said, “I’m alright, just help me up,” I helped him up and then I tried to put my arm around him and he said, “no, I’m bleepin’ walking off.”

While Reilly was tracking down a bobbled snap, his ankle stuck and turned during the fourth quarter of the Leos loss in Week 9. Trainers looked at his ankle on the sideline, taped it up and Reilly went back. Right after the game Reilly told Claybrooks he would be at practice and play against Winnipeg.

“I saw him the next morning and he could barely put some weight on his ankle. Two, three hours later he’s out running around pulling out bootlegs and stuff like that. I thought we were going to limit him, but he was flying around fast and still juking Odell [Willis] out of his shoes, so I guess he’s fine,” Claybrooks said.

“You see the toughness as a former defensive coordinator, you’ve hit him and laid it on him, but to witness it first-hand this year he’s taken some vicious licks, so for him to be the trooper that he is I’m blessed to have him and he’s a great leader on our team.”

Claybrooks believes Reilly has cheetah blood running through his veins and it’s why he heals so quickly. The 34-year-old signal caller was sacked another four times bringing the Lions league-worst total to 29 on the season. But after falling to 1-7 there was no question about who would be behind centre against the Bombers.

“Especially with where we’re at in our season it’s important for us to come out and every game is a playoff game for us at this point. It’s easier when you’re on the road because you’re at the hotel with the team the whole day, so the training room is always open,” Reilly said.

“Just as the rest of my body generally is the day after a game everything was pretty sore, but by the afternoon just get back on the horse. Generally, you’re never going to be 100 per cent healthy until the off-season again.”

B.C. sits last overall in the CFL standings and are 0-6 against the rest of the West Division while allowing the most points in the league at 276. It’s not all on the offence, but Reilly isn’t one to single out teammates or units and place blame.

“It’s two steps forward, one step back. We do some really good things and then at the end we hurt ourselves and keep ourselves from getting a win. I do feel, strictly speaking offensively, that we took a couple of good steps last week against Hamilton, but we didn’t finish the game in the fourth quarter when we had the opportunity,” Reilly said.

“I do think we’re close but close is never going to be good enough – you gotta arrive, you gotta get there. So we gotta find a way to get the last parts figured out, and if we do that we’ll start getting wins. If we don’t then we’ll just sit here all season and say ‘yeah we’re close’ and that’s never going to be good enough.”

If B.C. can fix their problems as fast as a cheetah the Lions still have time to put themselves in the playoff hunt.

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Justin Dunk is the pre-eminent CFL insider and unabashed supporter of Canadian quarterbacks. He is one of the founders of the new 3DownNation.