The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have lost two key Canadian players to what’s believed to be season-ending Achilles injuries.
Both defensive tackle Linden Gaydosh and wide receiver Spencer Watt will miss the entire 2015 CFL campaign after being hurt in separate off-season training incidents.
The 24-year-old Gaydosh was the first overall pick in the 2013 CFL Draft and signed with the Ticats mid-way through last season after recovering from a serious back injury suffered during a stint with the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. He played in 11 games for Hamilton, registering eight tackles.
The 26-year-old Watt was one of the Ticats’ prized free agent signings this off-season, signing a two-year deal with Hamilton after spending five seasons with the Toronto Argonauts. He has registered 135 catches for 1,715 during his CFL career.
While losing Gaydosh would be a significant blow to the team’s Canadian depth, the Ticats are well-stocked at the defensive tackle position with Ted Laurent, the Most Outstanding Canadian in the East Division last season, veteran Brian Bulcke and a number of young national players.
But Gaydosh is entering the final year of his contract and will be a free agent by the time his Achilles is fully healed, which usually takes anywhere from eight to 12 months.
The loss of Watt, however, could be more significant. The Ticats have little depth behind star slotback Andy Fantuz, who has missed at least five games due to injury the past two seasons. The team has started two Canadian receivers for much of the last two years but will likely be forced to make a ratio change with Watt out.