TORONTO — Even Zach Collaros doesn’t know how to describe his injury. But he does hope to be playing for the Toronto Argonauts sooner rather than later.
Collaros has been on the six-game injured list since a controversial hit on June 13 knocked him out of the Saskatchewan Roughriders’ lineup. The quarterback was traded to Toronto on Wednesday, but both he and Argonauts general manager Jim Popp had no timetable for his return.
Part of the problem is that upper-body injuries can be so difficult to pinpoint.
“I’ve met a lot of people these last couple of years, a lot of doctors and physiotherapists, and they say any time it’s a head injury it’s a neck injury and every time it’s a neck injury it’s a head injury,” Collaros told media on Thursday at BMO Field before Toronto hosted the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
“The injury kind of started with the neck. Unfortunately, any time you do something to your neck you feel it in a lot of different places.”
Collaros took a hit from Hamilton’s Simoni Lawrence on the third offensive play of a 23-17 loss to the host Tiger-Cats in Week 1 of the CFL season. The play earned Lawrence a two-game suspension, a ban that was later upheld by an arbitrator after an appeal.
The Argonauts have begun the season on a six-game losing skid and Popp acknowledged that it was a risk-reward trade bringing the experienced Collaros in to try and help Toronto turn its season around.
“How many weeks away is he from playing? Don’t have 100 per cent knowledge of that until we get him here,” Popp said on Wednesday. “It’s going to be a day-to-day process. We’ll find out.”
Collaros was actually meeting with the Roughriders’ training staff to figure out his day’s rehabilitation when Saskatchewan GM Jeremy O’Day broke the news to him that he’d been traded.
Like Popp, Collaros is not sure when he’ll be ready to play but the Argonauts do have a bye week to give him more time to recover and familiarize himself with Toronto’s offence.
“Going through the injury that I’ve sustained this year, you learn how to be patient,” said Collaros. “It’s tough being a competitor because you want to get out there, but you have to do what’s right.”
The native of Steubenville, Ohio, began his CFL career in Toronto, backing up Rick Ray in 2012 and 2013, earning a Grey Cup ring with the Argonauts in his first year in the league.
He spent the next four seasons in Hamilton where he was the Ticats’ choice for the league’s Most Outstanding Player award in both 2014 and 2015. He was traded to Saskatchewan in 2018.
Collaros has thrown for 16,758 yards and 92 touchdowns over his seven CFL seasons, also rushing for 952 yards and eight TDs.
It took a moment for Collaros to digest that he’d be returning to Toronto when O’Day told him of the trade.
“When I first heard, I really didn’t think about it. I guess I didn’t process it when he said ‘you’re going back home,”’ said Collaros. “I appreciate the way he did it. Just shot me straight, told me what was going on. Then I got on the phone with my wife and she was over the moon about it.
“We’re close to family. A lot of familiar faces in this organization.”