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Spokane Empire

Orton returns to Shock, but Meyer’s year is over

Wed., July 20, 2011, 6:17 p.m.

The moves keep coming for the Spokane Shock.

The Arena Football League team placed starting quarterback Erik Meyer (shoulder) on injured reserve, a mandatory four-week stint. That means Meyer’s season is over because Spokane has one regular season game left and potentially three playoff games.

Wide receiver Greg Orton, a standout during Spokane’s first 14 games, is returning and will play against Jacksonville on Friday. Orton signed with UFL Omaha, but that league faces an uncertain future following Tuesday’s announcement that it will delay season openers until mid September.

Spokane also added defensive end Michale Spicer, who played in the UFL the last two years and in the AFL from 2005-08, and nose guard James McClinton, a University of Kansas product who played in the IFL earlier this year. Both are expected to start Friday.

Spokane released receiver Brian Paysinger and defensive lineman Mel Purcell. Receiver Markee White, who left the Shock to join UFL Hartford, tweeted that he plans on returning to Spokane, but he wasn’t on Wednesday’s transactions list.

The Shock acquired Meyer in a trade in late May and he immediately sparked the offense. He was 4-1 as a starter, but injuries (concussion, cramping, shoulder) prevented the former Eastern Washington Eagle from finishing his last four games.

“I’m not upset because we have Kyle (Rowley) as the starter, but I feel bad for Erik,” head coach Rob Keefe said. “We’ll look to the future and we want to make sure he’s OK.”

After Meyer’s shoulder injury in the first quarter against San Jose, Rowley guided Spokane to a 63-61 win by tossing a 34-yard touchdown pass to Randy Hymes as time ran out.

Orton ranked among AFL leaders with 104 receptions and 31 touchdowns before leaving for Omaha.

“It’s going to be tough because we feel really good about our current receivers,” Keefe said. “We’re going to have to make some tough decisions either way.”

Spicer will receive a marketing contract, meaning he’s one of three players earning $1,000 per game.

“He’s just a good player,” Keefe said.

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