MISSISSAUGA, Ont. -- The Toronto Argonauts are Zach Collaros's team for the foreseeable future.
Collaros takes over as the starting quarterback after Argos coach Scott Milanovich dropped a bombshell Thursday, announcing incumbent Ricky Ray is out for approximately six weeks with a shoulder injury.
Ray, 33, was injured in the first quarter of Toronto's 35-14 home loss to Calgary on Friday. After throwing the ball away, a scrambling Ray extended his right arm to brace his fall upon being hit by Stampeders defensive lineman Charleston Hughes.
"Ricky has a partial tear (in) a muscle in his shoulder that's called the teres major, Milanovich said. "I've been informed that's not part of the rotator cuff.
"He's going to be out approximately six weeks. It could be a couple of weeks less or a couple of weeks more depending on he responds to his rehab."
The teres major muscle is located in the back of the shoulder. It helps rotate and extend the arm and damaging it causes pain in the back of the shoulder, back and upper arm.
Fortunately, Ray won't require surgery. But Toronto (5-3) -- which tops the East Division ahead of Hamilton (4-4) and Montreal (3-5) -- will be minus its offensive catalyst for an important stretch that includes a home-and-home series with the Alouettes and a western road trip to Regina, Calgary and Edmonton before hosting the arch-rival Ticats on Oct. 4.
"Pressure is what you make (of) it," Collaros said. "As long as we're prepared as a team and I'm prepared I think we all feel comfortable out there.
"We have a big home-and-away series with Montreal... we just have to get after it this week and be ready."
Ray missed three late-season starts last year with a knee injury before returning to lead Toronto on its Grey Cup march.
"Hopefully we get a similar result," Milanovich said. "It's part of the game, there's injuries in the sport of football and I have faith Zach, Trevor (Harris) and Josh (Portis) will go out there and win games for us.
"Obviously it's the quarterback and it's a different piece of the puzzle you have to replace but all teams prepare for this."
The six-foot, 216-pound Collaros is anxious to be Toronto's starter for the foreseeable future.
"It's not a good thing that had to happen under these circumstances," he said. "But I look forward to leading this team these next few weeks."
Collaros certainly has big shoes to fill. Ray has completed 148 of 189 passes (78.3 per cent) this season for 1,824 yards with 15 TDs and no interceptions. Ray was especially sharp in his four last starts, completing 69 of 79 passes (87.3 per cent) for 907 yards and nine TDs before his injury.
-- The Canadian Press