For the first month after Kenny Shaw tore three ligaments in his knee, he wasn’t even allowed to get out of bed.
It was then that the doubts started to creep in.
“It was scary and you think about so many things mentally like ‘man, am I going to bounce back from it?'” Shaw said.
Now, more than a year after that Aug. 26 injury happened, the answer is yes. The former Redblack and Argonaut receiver will suit up for the Green and White Sunday after tearing three ligaments in his knee in a game against B.C. last year.
“I just remember I thought I hyper-extended my knee and I tried to walk off and it just kept buckling,” Shaw recalled. “I just got to the sideline and next thing I know the guy who did my surgery was like ‘man, you tore all three ligaments.'”
The ensuing weeks and months became all about excruciating rehabilitation and willing himself to keep going.
However, he didn’t do it alone; Shaw decided to get a dog – a Rottweiler named Draco – who was by his side through it all.
The 26-year-old also began reading again for the first time since high school.
“Eighty percent is definitely the mental standpoint of rehab. A lot more in the beginning, the pain, and jerking on the knee. Like I said, at one point I just said I’m going to attack it head on. If it blows out again, it blows out again. I’m going to trust God.”
God, Draco and a flurry of motivational books.
“That’s what shifted my mind. A guy randomly after rehab one day asked me when was the last time I read a book and I told him ’10th grade summer’ and after that point, I went to the bookstore and just asked for some books,” Shaw said.
After less than a year of work on his new knee, Shaw began getting calls from teams about his progress. As a former 1,000 yard receiver, his services were in demand, but Shaw resisted the urge to come back too soon and in time for training camp.
“I was running but I knew I wasn’t to the point where it was in 2016, so I was telling a lot of teams I wasn’t ready. I was being real with myself because I waited 10 months at that point, why am I going to chance it now rushing myself to camp?”
Now, with about six weeks of practice roster training under his belt, Shaw will suit up in place of the injured Naaman Roosevelt. And because of all the hard work he’s put in both on and off the field, head coach Chris Jones feels he’s ready to make the jump.
“He comes and works every day,” the head coach said. “He’s in there with his receiver coach every afternoon until probably 4-4:30 in the afternoon.”
“The final test is going out and being able to make it through a pro football game … if practice is any indicator, he’s done a real good job competing every day out there,” Jones added.
For Shaw’s part, he feels lucky someone is willing to give him another chance.
“(Jones) has to have a lot of faith. (After) seeing (my) MRI, I would think twice, too. I’m thankful for the opportunity and I’m just attacking it.”
DEPTH CHART AND ROSTER NOTES
“Along with Kenny Shaw, the Riders have added Rob Bagg, Matt Elam and Paul Dawson to the game day roster
“Loucheiz Purifoy, Micah Teitz, Naaman Roosevelt and Mic’hael Brooks come off
#Riders Depth Chart:
— Saskatchewan Roughriders (@sskroughriders) September 29, 2018