After a bye week, Spokane returned to the practice field Tuesday. We caught up with some of the players to see how they spent the week off and who will/won’t be able to play in Friday’s road game at Stockton.
Read on for an unedited notebook that will run in Wednesday’s S-R.
By Jim Meehan
Sergio Gilliam handed out 30 of his bobbleheads to family and friends in South Carolina. Brian Jackson instructed 21 youngsters at his place-kicking camp. Nick Davila rested his ailing thumb and elbow. Justin Warren spent time in the swimming pool with his 6-month-old son. Markee White attended the first game of the NBA Finals at the Staples Center.
Spokane Shock players spent last week’s much-needed bye catching up with family, resting weary bodies and re-charging for the second half of the regular season, which resumes with a Friday road game against Stockton.
The top-ranked Shock (9-0), who returned to practice Tuesday at team headquarters in Spokane Valley, played nine consecutive weeks after having a bye on the opening weekend of the arenafootball2 season. They were ready for a break.
“Basically I just enjoyed time with family and friends,” Gilliam said. “I got in Sunday night and by Tuesday morning I’d given out 30 bobbleheads. I have to send my mother some more.”
Several players, including Jackson and Warren, stayed in Spokane.
“I had a great time,” said Warren, whose son visited from Texas. “We’ve all got rid of the nicks and bruises. We’re getting back into game shape and the rhythm we had going into the bye week.”
Head coach Adam Shackleford took a couple days off last week before beginning preparations for Stockton. He asked players to get in a couple of workouts during the bye week.
“You never know with your team, but we came back and had an outstanding practice,” Shackleford said. “We spent a lot of time mixing things in because we have a short week and we have to get everything in.”
The week break provided healing time for Davila, Patrick Bugg, Damon Jenkins and Andy Olson. Bugg and Jenkins are eligible to come off injured-reserve and Shackleford said a decision on the two will be made later in the week. Shackleford said Olson is “probably healthy for the first time in 3-4 weeks.”
“Nick was hurt; he wasn’t just banged up,” Shackleford added. “He’s been dealing with a thumb and elbow on his throwing (left) arm. We tried to keep it a secret but he needed that break. He looked great (Tuesday).”
Linebacker Lee Foliaki was the only absence at practice. He remained in his home state of Texas to deal with a “family emergency,” Shackleford said. “Hopefully we’ll get him back soon.”
Williams still hurting
Like many of his teammates, defensive back Aaron Williams (knee) has been battling a nagging injury for several weeks. The time off helped, but he still has pain and swelling in his knee.
It’s believed to be a damaged meniscus. He jogged briefly at Tuesday’s practice, but the problems persisted. He has an appointment with a doctor to determine the course of treatment, but he doesn’t anticipate playing Friday.
Division, conference race
Boise (8-2) defeated Central Valley to pull closer to Spokane in the West Division standings. The Burn face Tri-Cities (1-9), Stockton (4-6), Central Valley (3-7) and Tri-Cities before closing at South Georgia (8-2) and home versus Spokane.
Meanwhile, Tulsa (9-1) knocked off Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (8-2) to stay in pursuit of the Shock in the race for the National Conference’s best record.
“We have people on our heels; we can’t afford to drop a game,” Shackleford said. “Tulsa has some tough games coming up but I expect them to win those. We know the importance of having home-field advantage, for us and our fans, and we take that very seriously.”