THE SOUL has taken another hit to the wide-receiving corps after veteran Larry Brackins was placed on injured reserve with a strained left hamstring.
Brackins, the last remaining player from the 2008 championship team, was injured in last Saturday's win over San Jose and will miss a minimum of three games.
Star wide receiver Donovan Morgan already is out until at least May with a fractured left wrist. Given the vertical nature of arena football, having problems at wide receiver is like driving a car on the expressway with three doughnut tires.
"I'm very concerned," coach Doug Plank said. "We cannot afford another injury. We're already in a situation where our personnel [at the position] is very different from where we began the season."
Alfonso Hoggard will be activated for the first time this season in place of Brackins for Friday's game against Tampa Bay.
The 61-55 win over San Jose vaulted the Soul back into the top spot in the weekly coaches' poll. It is a spot Plank would just as soon avoid. The Soul was No. 1 in late March and quickly suffered its only loss of the season that following weekend.
The Soul received 11 of the 17 first-place votes, and coaches are not allowed to vote for their own team. Plank said he voted for Chicago, which is ranked second.
"All that means is that you're the No. 1 target," Plank said. "At this stage of the season, there are no trophies given for being on top in the poll."
FRIDAY NIGHT'S GAME
Who: Tampa Bay (3-2) at Soul (4-1)
When: Friday, 8 p.m.
Where: Wells Fargo Center (19,500)
TV: NFL Network
Radio: WPEN (950-AM)
About the Storm: Drilled the same Cleveland team last week (69-48) that handed the Soul its only loss . . . Leading wide receiver Prechae Rodriguez is expected back after missing a game with concussion-like symptoms.
About the Soul: Have won two in a row and lead the AFL with an average of 72.4 points per game.