The Injury Bug

View From the Press Box

Joe Kauffman
Technical Editor

August 9, 1997

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Injuries have plagued the Storm (8-6) all season, and it will be no different in the playoffs against the Nashville Kats. The Storm, seeded sixth in the 1997 Arena Football playoffs, got hurt even worse in their 58-34 win over the San Jose SaberCats. Starting OS Wayne Walker and WR/LB Stevie Thomas were injured in the game.

Here are the players on the Storm's roster who are currently suffering from injuries:

  • Les Barley - He is suffering from a sore ankle and a thigh contusion as a result of some hard hits against San Jose. Barley is listed as probable.

  • Tracey Perkins - He has a strained hamstring, which he has been suffering from for a few weeks now and did not practice all week. Perkins is listed as day-to-day.

"I won't be 100 percent, but I've got a chance to play," said Perkins on Wednesday.

"Perk tried to practice [Friday] and he just couldn't go. It looks doubtful to me but we'll just have to wait and see" Coach Tim Marcum said of Perkins.

  • Stevie Thomas - Against San Jose, he fractured his thumb. Listed as out, Thomas will still travel with the team to Nashville. He never missed a playoff game in his first six years in Tampa Bay.

  • Wayne Walker - He sprained his ankle against the SaberCats and did not practice all week Walker is listed as day-to-day.

  • Peter Tom Willis - He suffered two cracked ribs in a loss at Albany and reagravated them a week later during a loss to New Jersey. Although he has started every game this season, he plays in considerable pain. He will play at Nashville.

"The main thing is that since the Albany game, he's been playing with cracked ribs," said Marcum, who pulled Willis for the second half of the San Jose game in favor of backup QB Ron Adams. "We didn't want to aggravate the injury, and since we'd clinched, I thought it was best if we sat him down."

"It's hard enough for me to throw in this league as it is, with all the pressure a quarterback has to face, much less trying to do it with cracked ribs," said Willis.

  • Willie Wyatt - He has suffered from back and knee problems all season, and sat out of practice at least once this week. In the final practice though, he did go the entire time and was full of energy.

Nashville is relatively healthy. Here is a list of their injuries:

  • James Baron - left ankle sprain (probable).
  • Jamie Coleman - concussion, lacerated lip (probable).
  • Lonnie Turner - sprained right ankle (probable).

Injuries to the Storm and possibly to Nashville could be a major factor in determining who wins the game. While Thomas is definitely out, all the other guys will probably play. How much time they see during the game and the extent of the impact they have on the game will be shown on the field. After watching the Storm all season though, I think that everyone will play their hardest against the Kats.

"Injuries don't matter, we've just got to do the job," said Marcum about the upcoming game.

It's do-or-die time for the Storm. There is nothing they can do about the injuries. They can only play through them.

That's my view from the press box.

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