It's the football equivalent of a hockey team losing its entire blue line. The first six players at one position are injured, and now it's a case of next man up.
For the Toronto Argonauts, it's the receiving corps that has been decimated by injuries. Chad Owens and Andre Durie were one-two in the CFL in receptions last season, Jason Barnes was a favourite target in the red zone, John Chiles was one of the best deep threats in the league and all of them have missed at least the last three games.
Add to that, rookie Terrell Sinkfield missed the last game, while last week in Montreal fellow first-year Anthony Coombs was injured, likely for the season. Import Jarred Fayson is also injured.
The only good news on the receiving corps is that Sinkfield is expected to play Tuesday night as the Argonauts host the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. As for the rest of the injuries, head coach Scott Milanovich gave an update Monday afternoon.
On Anthony Coombs shoulder injury being season ending, "I think so'" said Milanovich, "The last report I got (Sunday) is it looks like he's going to have surgery, which would put him out for the year."
As for when the others would return, "I think Jason Barnes is the closest," continued the coach. "Maybe (the August 23rd game in) Edmonton possibly. I think next week would be a stretch because of the five day week. Pretty much everybody else, Chad and Durie, I'm hoping for, thinking Labour Day."
Would a Durie, Labour Day return from a broken shoulder surprise the coach?
"I'm not counting on it yet," said Milanovich. "Chad's probably closer than 'Dre is. A couple of weeks ago 'Dre said he was feeling great, and then it's kind of gone back and forth with him."
Chiles hamstring injury has been frustrating for all involved. He made the trip to Regina two weeks ago, but was scratched just a couple hours before kickoff. He didn't travel to Montreal last week and the coach is somewhat surprised the speedster isn't back in the lineup.
"A little bit, yes. He practiced day one this week and then felt like he couldn't go or he was going to run the risk of pulling it." Milanovich then joked "I was never fast enough to worry about having a hamstring injury, so I have a tough time relating to injuries like that."
The Argos finally scored two touchdowns in the same game last week in Montreal, something they hadn't done in the previous three. The prevailing school of thought among outsiders is that it's just a case of waiting for the injuries to heal and all offensive ills will be cured. Ricky Ray is hoping that's the case.
"To a certain extent, yes," said the quarterback. "We're hoping to get these guys back and to be able to have the guys that you rely on out there to play, but we're not just saying that and thinking that, we're expecting to win. These young guys that are filling in are very talented guys and now that we've been playing together for a few weeks it's time for just to get a little more comfortable and be able to execute better and win some football games."
Tuesday's game will be a tough one for the offence against a very talented Bombers defence, led by defensive coordinator/mad scientist Gary Etcheverry.
One other note about the receiving corps, Trent Guy has been added to the roster. He won't play Tuesday, but may be in the lineup Sunday against British Columbia. Guy was with the Argos a year ago, and the club may be hoping that he will contribute the way Mo Mann has. After not playing for a year and four games, Mann has 11 catches for 137 yards in the two games he has played this season.