06/16/2015 10:18 EDT | Updated 06/16/2016 05:59 EDT

Toronto Argonauts place starter Ricky Ray on the six-game injured list

TORONTO - The Toronto Argonauts won't have quarterback Ricky Ray under centre when they open the 2015 CFL season.

The Argos put their star quarterback on the six-game injured list Tuesday as he continues to recover from off-season shoulder surgery. Ray, 35, was the CFL's passing leader last season and the East Division nominee for the league's outstanding player award.

Toronto head coach Scott Milanovich said the club made the move now so as to not create a distraction next week as the Argos prepare for their season-opening home game June 27 against the Edmonton Eskimos in Fort McMurray, Alta. Backup Trevor Harris assumes the starting position.

"We knew for a couple of weeks that was probably the case so we wanted to go ahead and get this over with," Milanovich told reporters.

Milanovich said Ray continues to make progress and remains on schedule. If Ray stayed on the injured list for the entire six games, he'd be eligible to return Aug. 8 for Toronto's home game against Saskatchewan.

"It's too early to tell," Milanovich said regarding when Ray might return. "I'm hopeful it's before then and we can pull him off the six-game but until then it doesn't hurt us to put him on it."

Milanovich said he expects Harris to play a half of the Argos' final exhibition game Thursday night in Montreal versus the Alouettes.

"I want to go out there and be successful, I want to go out there and compete," Harris said. "I expect greatness out of myself.

"I want to make sure I'm doing my part on every play so that we can ensure we're doing everything what we need to do as a team to move forward and be great as a team."

Harris said while he'll be getting the starter's reps in practice, being the No. 1 quarterback won't change his game preparation.

"It's a little bit different knowing you're going to play but it's just a different feeling,"he said. "It's not any different in preparation or the way I study my gameplan or watch film or anything of that nature.

"It's just about being more prepared every day and being ready to do the reps physically as opposed to mentally."

The Argos also signed international running back Lyle McCombs.