Calgary Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell closes in on return to field

Calgary Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell took another step towards returning to the football field with zip on his passes in Friday’s practice.

The CFL’s Most Outstanding Player and Grey Cup MVP in 2018 hasn’t played since suffering a tear in the pectoral muscle of his throwing arm in a June 29 game.

But head coach Dave Dickenson wasn’t ready to declare Mitchell his starting quarterback for Monday’s annual Labour Day game against the Edmonton Eskimos.

“I think he made strides again, so that was positive,” Dickenson said.

Mitchell had targeted the Aug. 17 home game against Montreal has his return date. The quarterback wasn’t ready, however, and returned to the six-game injured list.

Backup Nick Arbuckle is 4-3 in starts in Mitchell’s absence.

Mitchell was activated again this week and split reps with Arbuckle on Thursday. He threw the football with authority Friday and made some long completions.

“The ball’s coming out really well,” Mitchell said. “Honestly I feel a thousand times better than yesterday. It’s just building that capacity, throwing a lot.”

Calgary (5-4) is fourth in the CFL’s West Division behind the Eskimos (6-4).

Dickenson said he and Stampeders general manager John Hufnagel discussed the quarterbacking situation Friday, but have yet to make a decision.

“We’re just not there yet,” Dickenson said. “It is nice to see (Mitchell) improving and making those throws you’re used to seeing him make.”

Mitchell, 29, reached a career 25,000 passing yards in the June 29 game before he was sidelined late in the fourth quarter.

The two-time CFL MOP owns a pair of Grey Cup rings (2014, 2018).

Arbuckle, 25, has a completion rate of 73.4 per cent with 11 touchdown throws in eight games.

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