REGINA - The defending Grey Cup champions have lost their star quarterback for the rest of the regular season and his status for the CFL playoffs is also in question.
Saskatchewan's Darian Durant is expected to miss the rest of the Roughriders' season with a torn tendon in his right elbow.
The 32-year-old, who will undergo surgery in the next couple days to repair the injury, was added to the team's six-game injury list Tuesday.
"Realistically his regular season is probably done," said general manager Brendan Taman. "Whether or not we can get him back for the playoffs, we'll see. It's not the greatest of outlooks."
Durant suffered the injury during the third quarter of Sunday's 30-24 victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
He was attempting a pass when he was hit by Winnipeg defensive end Bryant Turner. Durant's throwing arm was bent awkwardly on the play.
The star quarterback dropped to the turf in considerable pain before he was helped to the locker-room. He did not return to the game.
Taman said he doesn't believe the injury to be career-threatening.
"We expect him back next year for sure," he said.
The injury is a huge blow to the defending Grey Cup champions, who are 8-and-2 and second in the West Division with eight games left in the regular-season. Backup quarterback Tino Sunseri now moves into the starting job.
"He's our starting quarterback so it's a blow, no doubt," Taman said of Durant. "We have a lot of faith in Tino."
Sunseri relieved the injured Durant and helped the Riders hang on for Sunday's win, the team's seventh straight. Taman said he expects Seth Doege to move up on the depth chart and that the Riders are targeting former Washington Huskies pivot Keith Price, who was released by the Seahawks in June. When asked if the team would be targeting a CFL veteran, Taman said the pickings were slim.
"We've had that thought, that list isn't very long," he said.
Sunseri has seen limited playing time this season as a reserve. He filled in for Durant when the starter was knocked out of an Aug. 24 game versus the B.C. Lions with a right hand injury.
"He's very sharp," said Taman. "He's always thinking about football. He comes from a football family. He's very confident, which you need in a quarterback."
"When we get Darian involved with it too they'll be fine mentally," he added.
Durant tweeted Tuesday that he knows Sunseri will "get the job done."
"I assure u I will be 100% ready for the 2015 season," Durant tweeted. "I will be right by Tino's side as we continue our journey to the 2014 Grey Cup."
Sunseri, in his second year with the Riders, is 13-for-25 passing this season for 152 yards and one touchdown.
Durant has completed 128 of 228 pass attempts this season, for 1,792 yards and eight touchdowns.
Taman said Durant has dealt with the news like a pro.
"He took it pretty well," he said. "He just wants to get it over with and move on."