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Rick Zamperin: Rash of quarterback injuries should have the CFL concerned

Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Matt Nichols (15) leaves the field with an upper body injury against the BC Lions in the second half of CFL action in Winnipeg Thursday, August 15, 2019.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback Matt Nichols (15) leaves the field with an upper body injury against the BC Lions in the second half of CFL action in Winnipeg Thursday, August 15, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

The Canadian Football League has a problem, and the worst part is that finding a solution may be impossible.

Seven of the league’s nine quarterbacks who were pegged as their team’s starters at the beginning of the 2019 season are currently out with injuries, and many of them have been serious ailments.

Hamilton’s Jeremiah Masoli (torn ACL) and Toronto’s Zach Collaros (concussion while with Saskatchewan) have suffered the most serious wounds in 2019, while Calgary’s Bo Levi Mitchell (pectoral muscle), Winnipeg’s Matt Nichols (arm/shoulder), Montreal’s Antonio Pipkin (lower leg), Ottawa’s Dominique Davis (lower leg) and Toronto’s James Franklin (hamstring) are out — or have been out — of action after being hit by the injury bug.

READ MORE: Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ starting quarterback Matt Nichols out for several weeks

The only starting quarterbacks who have played in every game this season are Edmonton’s Trevor Harris and B.C.’s Mike Reilly, while Saskatchewan’s Cody Fajardo has remained healthy since taking over for Collaros.

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Aside from Collaros being concussed thanks to a late hit from Hamilton linebacker Simoni Lawrence in the opening game of the season, the other injuries weren’t the result of a reckless or dangerous hit by an opponent.

Masoli, for example, suffered a non-contact injury when he crumpled in pain to the turf at Tim Hortons Field while trying to avoid a sack against Winnipeg on July 26.

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So what can the CFL do?

The league has already tweaked some of its rules to help protect the quarterback by penalizing hits to the head and below the knees, as well as allowing the Command Centre to assist referees with roughing the passer penalties that are missed by the officials.

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It’s football, a chaotic contact sport in which injuries are unfortunately part of the game. And this year it’s the quarterbacks who are feeling the brunt of it.