Multiple Stampeders’ starters return to practice following COVID scare, including RB Ka’Deem Carey

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After a brush with COVID-19 coming off the bye week, the Calgary Stampeders appear to be closing in on full strength.

According to Postmedia’s Danny Austin, star running back Ka’Deem Carey, starting middle linebacker Jameer Thurman, and top receiver Malik Henry all returned to practice on Thursday. Left tackle Derek Dennis and third-string quarterback Tommy Stevens began practicing Wednesday.

All five players had missed practice earlier in the week and were listed as suffering “illness” on the injury report. Head coach Dave Dickenson confirmed that many of those players with the illness designation had tested positive for COVID-19, though there was at least one case of pneumonia. Henry suffered an unrelated illness.

The return of the ill contingent will be especially welcome news given the importance each of them plays for the team.

Carey is the league’s third-leading rusher despite playing only five games, recording 58 carries for 379 yards and three touchdowns. He has also caught nine passes for 82 yards.

Thurman has made 21 total tackles this season as well as two interceptions.

Henry leads the team with 22 receptions for 441 yards and three touchdowns.

Dennis anchors an offensive line that has allowed seven sacks this season, which ranks second in the league. The team has also ranks second in the league with an average of 5.8 yards per rush.

Stevens runs the Stamps short-yardage unit and has two touchdowns so far this season.

Backup linebacker Charlie Moore is the only player remaining on the injury report who is still missing due to illness.

The Stampeders (4-1) are set to host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (7-0) on Saturday with kickoff slated for 7:00 p.m. EDT. The clubs met two weeks ago at IG Field with the Winnipeg edging out their West Division rivals by a score of 26-19.