It's been a tough year for CFL starting quarterbacks.
Drew Tate (arm) of the Calgary Stampeders, Ricky Ray (shoulder) of the Grey Cup-champion Toronto Argonauts and Anthony Calvillo (concussion) of the Montreal Alouettes are all sidelined. And now, the B.C. Lions will be without starter Travis Lulay for two games with a shoulder injury suffered while running for a TD in last weekend's 36-14 home win over Montreal.
That means half of the league's starters are down with injuries.
Lulay will be re-evaluated following B.C.'s game in Winnipeg on Sept. 27.
With Lulay unable to go, either sophomore backup Thomas DeMarco or veteran Buck Pierce, obtained recently from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, will start Sunday when the Lions visit the Saskatchewan Roughriders. DeMarco came in against Montreal after Lulay was injured, completing 4-of-6 passes for 47 yards and his first CFL touchdown pass, a 14-yard TD strike to Marco Iannuzzi.
The CFL's top running back is also hurting.
Saskatchewan's Kory Sheets won't play against B.C. due to a sprained knee. He was injured in last weekend's 31-29 home loss to Toronto.
Sheets has a league-best 1,222 rushing yards and is 843 shy of Hall of Famer Mike Pringle's single-season mark of 2,065. If Sheets misses just the one game, he'll have to average 141 yards over Saskatchewan's remaining six contests to eclipse Pringle's record.
Riders' head coach Corey Chamblin couldn't say Tuesday how long Sheets will be out. He added that the 5-11, 208-pound running back will be day to day following the B.C. game.
Sheets seemed like a lock to break Pringle's record when he opened the '13 campaign with six straight 100-yard games. He amassed 845 total yards over that span, an average of 141 per contest.
But Sheets has run for 377 yards in his last five games (75.4-yard average). He had just four carries for eight yards before being injured against Toronto.
Also hurting is Toronto running back Chad Kackert, the MVP of last year's 100th Grey Cup game. He's day to day with a concussion following a helmet-to-helmet hit from Riders safety Tyron Brackenridge last weekend.
RECORD CHASE: He's already the CFL's all-time receiving yards leader. On Sunday, Geroy Simon can become the most prolific receiver in league history against his former team.
Simon will face his former B.C. teammates for the first time since being dealt to the Saskatchewan Roughriders this off-season. The Riders will host the Lions at Mosaic Stadium with Simon needing just six catches to break Ben Cahoon's league record of 1,017 career catches.
Simon, who turned 38 last week, had five catches for 69 yards in last weekend's 31-29 loss to Toronto. After missing Saskatchewan's first three games with an upper-body injury, Simon has 23 receptions for 341 yards and three TDs.
Simon has amassed 16,128 yards and 103 TDs over his illustrious 15-year CFL career. After starting in Winnipeg, Simon spent 12 seasons with the Lions before being dealt to Saskatchewan.
WORK TO DO: Chip Cox is leading the CFL in tackles but the Montreal linebacker has some work to do to break the league's single-season record.
Cox has amassed 78 tackles and is on pace for 126 this season. That would leave him four short of the league mark set last year by Edmonton's JC Sherritt en route to being named the CFL's top defensive player.
Cox was on pace to shatter that mark after accumulating 71 tackles through Montreal's first nine regular-season games but has registered seven in his last two contests.
HMMM: There was an interesting tweet Tuesday from Calgary Stampeders running back Jon Cornish.
"So I'm pretty sure everyone that received a major CFL award last year has now missed a game, except maybe top offensive lineman. Interesting," Cornish said on his Twitter account.
Cornish, the CFL's top Canadian last year, missed one start earlier this season with a thigh contusion. Injuries have also sidelined receivers Chad Owens of Toronto (outstanding player) and Chris Matthews (top rookie) of Winnipeg as well as Edmonton linbacker JC Sherritt (defensive player).
The B.C. Lions' offensive line has been decimated by injuries this season but a constant has been Jovan Oliafoye, the CFL's top lineman in 2012. Hamilton's Chris Williams was the CFL's top special-teams player last year but is embroiled in a contract dispute and is sitting out.
-- The Canadian Press