Dickenson bewildered by Achilles tears, says one-year layoff is ‘the X-factor’

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders

Saskatchewan Roughriders’ head coach Craig Dickenson is bewildered by the number of torn Achilles that have been suffered by players across the Canadian Football League.

“It’s just wild, isn’t it?” said Dickenson in a videoconference. “I don’t know. It’s something that I’ll look at closely with the trainers and our people in the off-season and try to figure something out, but it is just a head-scratcher right now. I think the layoff — that’s the X-factor.”

Defensive lineman Tim Williams suffered a torn Achilles on Friday, making him the fifth member of the Riders to suffer the injury. It occurred during what Dickenson described as a “glorified walkthrough” for which Williams was fully warmed up and working at “sixty percent” of his full speed.

“It’s been a tough year for us on that,” said Dickenson. “I’ve never seen that many Achilles injuries ever and so to lose another one is really, really tough. Hopefully — knock on wood — that’s the last one, but you never know. It’s a violent game and guys are playing hard and being explosive and sometimes those things happen, but we certainly hope we’ve seen the last of those.”

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers lost veteran defensive back Mercy Maston to a torn Achilles last week, while Calgary Stampeders’ fullback Charlie Power is suspected to have torn his Achilles as well. Nine players league-wide have suffered the injury, which has been a dark cloud hanging over the CFL’s return to the field.

Dickenson is keeping his fingers crossed that this rash of Achilles tears has come to an end.

“You don’t know why that happens,” said the second-year head coach. “You just hope that you don’t have any more.”

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.