June 24, 2011 in Sports

Rowley, Shock eager to take on VooDoo

By The Spokesman-Review

When Kyle Rowley sprained the AC joint in his right (throwing) shoulder six weeks ago, some thought it could be a season-ending injury. Best-case scenarios had him returning late in the regular season.

“The trainers have been great to get me back as quickly as possible,” Rowley said. “I’ve had a long career and from high school to now I usually take whatever they tell me and cut it in half or thirds. The initial prognosis was 6 to 8 weeks. I even heard 3 months.

“I think it’s their job to play it on the safe side and my job as an athlete to get back on the field as soon as possible.”

Rowley, who has helped Spokane win two of the franchise’s three arena football championships, will be back at the helm when the Shock (6-7) visits New Orleans (2-11) Saturday night.

Rowley beat out Bill Stull and Steven Sheffield for the starting job that opened up when Erik Meyer suffered a concussion last week. Stull, returning from a knee injury, will be the backup.

Whether it’s a one-week stint or longer remains to be seen, but Rowley’s chore is to try to extend Spokane’s winning streak to a season-long three games.

“If anybody is voting for assistant coach of the year, (offensive coordinator) Andy Olson should be on the ballot,” Keefe said. “We’ve had seven quarterbacks take a snap. Hopefully it ends here, everybody gets healthy and we can go on with who is better and not who is the last man standing.”

The VooDoo has the worst record in the Arena Football League, they’ve lost five in a row and they’re 0-7 at home. They’re last in scoring offense (42.4 ppg), sacks (8) and turnover margin (minus 18).

Spokane is just 1-5 in road games, four of those defeats to teams currently sporting losing records. The Shock won five division titles in their first five years, but Arizona has clinched the West title. Spokane is trying to extend its playoff streak to six straight years.

“We were talking about it as coaches the other night and we wish we were 10-3, but it’s fun making the chase,” Keefe said. “We’ve never been in this position before. I’m actually working harder than I did last year and I enjoy it. So let’s make the run.”

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