CFL: Injuries Plague Riders For Second Straight Season

TJ ZwarychSenior Writer IAugust 20, 2009

We all know how bad the injury situation for the Riders was last year. After a season where the team had perhaps the most and worst injuries a team has ever had in one year, the Riders were happy to move forward to this season.

It was hopefully going to be a fresh start, where the Riders could have a season with all their players healthy, and fight there way to the Grey Cup. Well, so far, that hasn't worked to well.

The Riders currently lead the league in injured players (13) and players on the 9 game injured list (9). There are a few teams tied for second in the injury category and 11, but no one has as many as the Riders.

The amount of injuries isn't necessarily the worst part for the Riders, but who the injured players are. The last two games the Riders have played were the first back to back games this season with the same starting offensive line. That is due to Wayne Smith, Belton Johnson and Jordan Rempel, who are all currently on the nine game injured list as well as other offensive lineman such as Gene Makowsky being injured from time to time.

The Riders offensive line has been heavily criticized this season, but it isn't that surprising considering Wayne Smith, Belton Johnson, and Jordan Rempel were all expected to be starters before the season began.

The offensive line isn't the only part of the offense that has been hampered with injuries. Wes Cates missed the first few games of the year with a shoulder injury, and has just recently shaken all the rust off.

Neil Hughes is a another running back down with injury. The local boy has missed the entire season so far and is currently on the nine game injured list.

The injuries to the receiving core haven't been as bad as last year, but bad none the less. Star slot back Andy Fantuz has had a nagging hamstring injury which has caused him to miss the last 3 games, and by the looks of things, that won't stop until after the Riders' bye week.

Dave McKoy is a another receiver who is down with injury. He has missed the entire season so far and is currently on the nine game injured list. Before the season, McKoy was expected to be a starting wide out, and many believed he was going be a star in the future.

The defensive side of the ball is missing key players as well. S

tarting middle linebacker Rey Williams had some ligaments torn in his knee in the loss against BC, kept on playing and is now on the nine game injured list and might miss the rest of the season. Leron Mitchell who was expected to be the Riders' starting safety, got injured in training camp which has forced James Patrick to leave his natural position to play at safety.

The Riders have been a very unlucky franchise in the last few years injury wise. Hopefully for the Riders, (I'm having Deja Vu right now) their injury situation will clear up near the end of the season. Also hoping that Fantuz will get back to full health, Mitchell will be back at safety, the original offensive line will be back in time to start a few games together before playoffs and Rey Williams will be able to play at least half the time.

I cannot see all of these things happening, but for the Riders' sake, I hope at least half of them can.