The Hamilton Tiger-Cats will be without arguably two of their best players Thursday night when they kick off the 2016 CFL season at BMO Field in Toronto.
Ticats fans have long prepared themselves for life without star quarterback Zach Collaros, who will start the season on the 6 game injured list after having surgery on his torn right ACL eight months ago.
But Canadian defensive tackle Ted Laurent will also start the season on the shelf, reportedly nursing a “lower body injury.”
Laurent has been placed on the 1 game injured list along with defensive end Delano Johnson, receiver Tiquan Underwood and six other players.
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But there is some good news on the injury front.
Centre Mike Filer says his injured right thumb, the one he needs to snap the ball to starting pivot Jeremiah Masoli, is fully healed.
Filer says his thumb was split open when it “got smashed between CJ Gable’s helmet and one of our linebackers” early on at training camp.
He said “It just ripped open down to the bone and they shoved 12 stitches in there” to close the wound.
Both the Ticats and Argos ended the 2015 season with a record of 10 wins and 8 losses, although Hamilton swept the three game season series (34-18, 42-12 and 35-27) before knocking off Toronto 25-22 in the East Semi-Final at Tim Hortons Field.
Thursday night’s matchup marks the first time since 2009 that Hamilton and Toronto will meet each other in their season openers.
Dating back to 1958, the road teams have won 56 per cent of their season opening contests.