With Ray out, Ticats prepare for a different challenge vs. Argos

Adrian Tracy is kinda, sorta, not really sorry for the devastating hit on Labour Day that has sidelined Toronto quarterback Ricky Ray.

“It’s just what happens in the game. I never go out there with the intention to injure someone, just the intention of making plays, ” Tracy said after learning that Ray would miss Sunday’s rematch. “Anything I can do to help the team, I’m going to do.”

With time winding down in the third quarter of last Monday’s Labour Day Classic and the Argos threatening, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats defensive end came unchecked off the edge and lowered his shoulder into Ray’s midsection, then planted him into the turf. Ray’s hurried throw was intercepted in the end zone by Courtney Stephen, a huge turning point in a game ultimately won by the home side.

Ray finished the game but Toronto head coach Scott Milanovich confirmed Friday that Ray suffered a rib injury on the play and would miss significant playing time.

“Ricky has a fractured rib. He had a partially deflated lung which has since taken care of itself, ” Milanovich.

“His health is not jeopardy, he’s four to six weeks. His season is not over.”

With Ray out, the Argos will turn to former Hamilton pivot Dan LeFevour, who signed with the Double Blue in early August. It will be the 29-year-old’s first start since Aug. 14, 2014, when he blew out his knee while playing for the Ticats.

It’s been quite the journey for LeFevour since, including stops in Montreal – where he lasted two plays before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury in Week One – Saskatchewan and Tampa Bay, where he was signed and released in a five-month span.

But he made five starts for Ticats head coach Kent Austin in 2013, and saw action as a changeup guy the season before as a mobile alternative to then-starter Henry Burris.

“We obviously know a little bit about his skill set. He can pull the ball down and move the sticks with his feet and he’s big and strong, accurate, ” said Austin. “He’s more of a run threat, for sure.”

The Ray injury comes at a terrible time for the 4-6 Argonauts, who have lost four straight and the season series to the Ticats already. They are also under threat of a West Division crossover and would be on the outside looking in if the playoffs started today.

The Ticats, meanwhile, are coming off another scintillating comeback on Labour Day, erasing a deficit of 20-plus points for the second time this season – something that’s only been accomplished once before in CFL history (the 1962 Tiger-Cats were the other club to do it.)

While quarterback Zach Collaros is playing some outstanding football since his return from injury, averaging 378 yards passing and throwing 14 touchdowns in the four games, the Ticats still have some question marks in the secondary and on special teams, where they’ve had punts blocked in each of the last two games.

Still, they know things could be worse. It was right around this time last season that Collaros suffered the knee injury that scuttled the team’s 2015 title hopes.

Perhaps that’s part of what has Tracy feeling some sympathy for Ray, who he plans on reaching out to.

“I’d definitely apologize and say that wasn’t my sole intent, ” Tracy said. “Just trying to play hard.”

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