The Spokane Shock returned to workouts Monday after a bye week with a better idea of who will see the field against Cleveland on Saturday.
Four players who have been on injured-reserve – defensive back Alex Teems, wide receiver Shaun Kauleinamoku and offensive linemen Ed Ta’amu and Chris Pino – took part to some degree. Pino and Kauleinamoku appear ready to go. Teems’ status won’t be determined until later in the week. Ta’amu might need additional healing time.
Meanwhile, there will be another addition to the IR list. Defensive back Al Phillips (knee) is out 5-6 weeks. Three Shock defensive backs were hurt in the fourth quarter in the win over Bossier-Shreveport on April 17. Rod Mosley (ankle) and William Mulder (back) left the game and Phillips wouldn’t have been able to continue if the BattleWings had recovered a late onside kick.
Mulder was back for Monday’s practice, which was mainly conditioning. Mosley is on IR. Teems, the former Washington State Cougar who is returning from a hamstring injury, isn’t sure if he’ll play Saturday. Teems is driven to play because the secondary is banged up more than the fact that he spent 2008 with Cleveland. The Gladiators’ roster and coaching staff is completely new.
“It’s still a little tight. I made it through practice, that’s a good sign,” Teems said. “I’m trying to do what’s best for the team and at the same time trying to do what’s best for me. I don’t want to come back too early and get hurt again. I guess we’ll see how the week goes.”
Spokane is expected to sign a former arenafootball2 defensive back today.
Pino will likely step in for Rod McMackin, who is on crutches after injuring his knee against Bossier-Shreveport. The 6-foot-5, 315-pound Pino spent 2008 with AFL San Jose and previously played in eight NFL preseason games with the Ravens and Redskins.
“It was hard to sit out three games but in the long run I’m 100 percent now,” Pino said. “I wish we were in full pads (which won’t happen until today), that’s how excited I am. Tuesday is going to be an awesome day.”
Head coach Rob Keefe said the players appear to be re-charged after the bye week. After roughly 70 minutes on the field, Keefe put the players through a 20-minute weight-lifting/conditioning session, with 30 seconds of activity followed by 15-second breaks.
“I think they have fresh legs and they’re excited to get back,” Keefe said. “Our guys are focused and they want to do some damage the rest of the way.”
Offensive coordinator Matt Sauk returned home last week to Utah to spend time with his wife and two daughters. Linebacker Kevin McCullough worked more hours at his day job, played in a golf tournament and mixed in some Frisbee golf, where he had a bout with poison ivy. Keefe and several Shock players visited youngsters in the pediatric unit at Providence Sacred Heart.
Huey Whittaker, Richard Clebert and Mosley were still making their way back to Spokane on Monday. Their return trips from Florida/Texas ran into flight delays.
Pino visited relatives in San Diego. “I thought the weather would be nice there, but it was raining when I got in,” he said. “But I spent time with my family and did my rehab and workouts there.”