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For battered Storm, Wise injury smarts

If a 38-37 loss to Las Vegas wasn't enough to break the spirit of the Tampa Bay Storm, the team found out Monday that Deatrich Wise will miss the rest of the season with an injury.

Wise, 30, got tangled up with 5:02 left in the first half as a Vegas player rolled over his left leg. Wise was taken off the field on a stretcher. Monday it was determined that he probably would need surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament, according to coach Tim Marcum.

"It was hard to watch (the replay)," Marcum said. "It didn't look good."

The injury may end Wise's career _ for the second time. In 1993, Wise retired because of a shoulder injury after helping the Storm to the Arena League title. He led the team in sacks that year and was named to the All-Arena team.

Last year, Wise served as an assistant coach under Lary Kuharich before deciding to come back.

Walking wounded: Wise wasn't the only casualty Saturday night. Defensive back/wide receiver Wayne Williams, who has played well for three weeks for injured Eddie Brown, chipped a bone in his elbow. Williams was evaluated by a doctor and isn't expected to miss any games.

"It feels a lot better than it did Saturday," Williams said. "The whole range of motion is kind of limited, but I'll be able to play."

Corey Dowden, who played with a sore ankle, remains hobbled. And Tracey Perkins will miss a few practices this week because of a leg injury.

Marcum spent Monday trying to acquire replacements for his injured players.

"We've been working on it," Marcum said. "We're not totally destitute yet, but right now we want to get some fresh blood in here."

Last week, Marcum worked out two possible defensive backs, but despite being impressed with them, he did not sign them. Those players will continue to practice this week, although Marcum noted that defensive back Tracy Sanders may be back this week.

Instant replay: There was a lot Marcum didn't like when he watched the video of Saturday night's loss.

Twice the referees appeared to have missed crucial calls. On Las Vegas' winning touchdown with a minute left, Marcum said, the replay clearly showed JeMone Smith was out of bounds when he caught the 9-yard pass from Scooter Molander.

Of more concern was the final play, on which James Johnson "mauled" Stevie Thomas on the goal line and then intercepted the pass intended for Thomas when the ball popped up in the air.

"It was blatant," Marcum said. "Stevie couldn't get his arms up. There's no way he could have caught that pass."

Jumbo help: Last year, the Tampa Bay Storm didn't have use of the Jumbotron scoreboard that hangs over midfield because the Storm and the Tampa Bay Lightning, which owns the scoreboard, couldn't agree on terms.

However, new management this year reached terms. And Saturday, the scoreboard almost was the difference in the game.

Three times Las Vegas kicker Ian Howfield bounced kickoffs off the scoreboard, giving the Storm the ball at the 20, including on their last two possessions. Unfortunately for the Storm, the good field position resulted in a missed field goal and Johnson's interception.

Tickets: It'll be as easy as 1-2-3 for fans looking to get general admission tickets for Saturday's game with Memphis. Wednesday, tickets will be sold at the ThunderDome box office for just $1. Thursday, the price will be $2, and Friday it'll be $3. General admission tickets are usually $7.

If the Storm does not win, all tickets from that game will be good for general admission July 21 against Connecticut.