TORONTO -- Set to face a crucial home-and-home set with the Montreal Alouettes, the Toronto Argonauts were dealt a huge blow on Thursday, as Ricky Ray will miss four to eight weeks due to a partial tear in his teres major muscle in his throwing shoulder.
Argos head coach Scott Milanovich made the announcement at practice on Thursday.
“Ricky has a partial tear, to my knowledge, in a muscle that is called the teres major which is not a part of the rotator cuff. He is going to be out approximately 6 weeks - could be two weeks before and could be two weeks after - depending on how he responds to his rehab. I found this out (Wednesday) at 3:00 pm," Milanovich told Argonauts.ca.
“From what I understand in football, it’s a fairly rare injury, so we are doing some research and talking to some people that had dealt with a similar injury and we didn’t get the final timed one until yesterday.”
Milanovich added that Ray will not undergo surgery.
The 33-year-old was injured in the first quarter of Toronto's 35-14 loss against Calgary on Friday night after being taken down by Stampeders defensive lineman Charleston Hughes.
Off to a torrid start to the 2013 season, Ray boasts an off the charts 78.3 completion percentage with 1,824 yards and 15 touchdown passes.
Backup QB Zach Collaros will start in Ray's place.
“Coach Brady called me and we talked about it and said see you on Thursday. I am excited, it’s not a good thing that it had to happen under these circumstances but I look forward to leading this team the next few weeks,” said Collaros.
In one start and six total appearances this season, Collaros has completed 51 of his 72 passes for 675 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. He also has an impressive QB rating of 112.9.
His lone start came against the Lions in Week 5, a game in which he completed 21 of his 25 passes for 253 yards and three touchdowns, en-route to leading the Boatmen to a 38-12 win.
The recently-turned 25-year-old says he's excited for the chance to prove himself for more than just one game.
“(It’s different) because I know I am going to have to play an extended period of time. The BC game was still up in the air, I wasn’t sure how long I would have to play then, but I think it’s comforting knowing I have to be ready for the next few weeks,” he said.
“I don’t know if I was mentally more locked in, but it is definitely a different feeling going through the week being the guy; just got to be ready to go.”
After Ray was forced out last week, Collaros completed 16 of his 26 passes for 221 yards, no touchdowns and one interceptions. Having taken first-team reps at practice all week, Collaros will be looking to keep the red-hot Argos offence clicking against a stingy Alouettes defensive unit.
“I think it is about getting back to basics for us on offence, making sure we run the routes at the right depths, making sure I am getting through progressions, really just executing plays. We always have a good game here, we are going to have a good game plan this week and it is our job as players to execute it,” said Collaros.
Milanovich, meanwhile, praised his backup QB, offering Collaros a strong vote of confidence.
“I think it’s a big difference (for Zac)’s confidence level. Getting all the reps, all the walkthrough reps, knowing you are the guy; it’s a different feel. Coming off the bench as a backup quarterback is one of the hardest things I think there is to do in sports because you don’t get any reps, you are cold and then you are asked to go in and win a game. That’s what you are paid to do and Zach will embrace the fact that he will get full weeks rep,” he said.