Dickenson, Riders hoping injuries won’t be their ‘Achilles heel’ come playoff time

The Saskatchewan Roughriders aren’t focusing on injury concerns as they approach their matchup with Edmonton this week.

As the playoffs approach, the violent nature of the sport leads to every team dealing with those issues down the stretch.

The injury problems started early in Riderville and coach Craig Dickenson praised his veteran players for keeping the team focused when he spoke with the media this week.

“You look at what happened even before we got on the field with the Achilles deal, that could have really derailed us. Credit to the veteran players that were here and healthy and they kept the team together,” he said.

Top free-agent signing Larry Dean, defensive lineman Freddie Bishop III, and a pair of rookie Canadians — defensive back Nelson Lokombo and running back Jonathan Femi-Cole — all suffered torn Achilles in training camp for Saskatchewan.

As for the here and now, the Riders are dealing with losses in the receiver department with Kyran Moore out for the season with a knee injury.

Moore was injured in the second quarter of Saskatchewan’s Week 13 victory over the Montreal Alouettes. He caught one pass for 14 yards before watching the second half from the sidelines on a pair of crutches.

The 25-year-old leads the Riders with 64 receptions for 585 yards and three touchdowns this season and has started all eleven of the team’s games at slotback.

Former NFL receiver Ricardo Louis will check back into the line-up after being pushed out by Duke Williams two weeks ago.

Dickenson is looking at the bright side of all the players missing time, saying Louis is an example of the positives that can come from other players having to step up.

“We talk about putting money in the bank. That experience is going to pay off so we talk about those games that you’ve played as investments, money in the piggy bank. Hopefully, that will pay off down the road. Ricardo is getting the call in this week. Nice thing is he’s played a couple of games already.”

The former Auburn Tiger has played seven games this season racking up 178 yards and two touchdowns in his rookie CFL season.

Saskatchewan is trying to secure a home playoff date as they battle with Calgary for the two-seed in the West. Dickenson says they aren’t right where they need to be but they are getting there.

“I think we are gelling right now, I really do. I think we’re coming together as a team. We’re not playing as well as we’d like to at the end of the year but I do believe we’ve got a good locker room, we’ve got good character guys in there. In spite of the injuries they’ve done a good job of keeping the team together.”

Saskatchewan (7-4) plays Edmonton (2-8) on Friday night at Commonwealth Stadium.

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