NEW ORLEANS — VooDoo receiver Donovan Morgan returned to the lineup in time for last week’s 62-16 loss at the Iowa Barnstormers, the latest loss for the Arena Football League franchise besieged by injuries.
Starting quarterback Kurt Rocco could join Morgan on the field for Friday’s game at the Spokane Shock (5-3), giving the VooDoo (1-6, 1-2 American South) an offensive burst it have not enjoyed since their season-opening win against the Orlando Predators.
Without the duo, the VooDoo offense has slumped to become the league’s lowest-ranked scoring offense (34.9 points per game).
By comparison, Spokane ranks second in the AFL (67 ppg).
VooDoo coach Pat O’Hara, on Wednesday, ruled Rocco probable for this week’s game. The only other option at quarterback is backup Zack Eskridge, who has played in six games. Bill Stull, who has also started a game this season, is out with an ankle injury.
“Kurt’s been forced to sit back and watch with the injury,” O’Hara said. “Hopefully when we get him back, he’ll get back to form and be excited, and we’ll be excited to get him back.”
Rocco returned to practice this week after suffering a medial collateral ligament strain in his left knee during the VooDoo’s 46-43 loss April 19 to the Pittsburgh Power.
One season ago, Rocco enjoyed a record-breaking season as he played in all 18 games. Rocco passed for 5,317 passing yards and 107 touchdowns — both team records — as he led the VooDoo to the playoffs for the first time since the team’s inaugural season of 2004.
This season, he’s played in four of the VooDoo’s seven games, passing for 738 yards (48 percent completion rate) with 12 touchdowns and six interceptions.
“I feel great right now,” Rocco said. “After being on the field and throwing the ball, I feel like I haven’t thrown the ball this well since last season. I’ve been throwing the ball in tight windows, so I feel good.”
Same goes for Morgan, a sixth-year AFL pro whom the VooDoo traded for during the offseason. Before returning last week, Morgan had missed three games (groin/abdominal). He has caught 26 passes for 251 yards and five TDs. His receptions and yardage rank second on the VooDoo.
“It’s a blessing to still be able to go out there and compete at a high level,” he said. “I hope to get back to the old D-Morgan; playing pitch-and-catch with the quarterback, making big plays when the team needs him and competing at a level nobody can match.”
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