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Dell injures Storm, knee in that order

Published Feb. 22, 2006

Former Storm wide receiver/linebacker Clif Dell sustained a season-ending knee injury in Orlando's 67-64 win, but not before making some big plays for the Predators.

Dell caught a 16-yard pass for a touchdown and recovered a kickoff off the net for another score in his first appearance at the St. Pete Times Forum since he signed with Orlando in the offseason.

After catching a first-quarter pass over the middle, Dell soared over Jonathan Ordway into the end zone, then punctuated the score by dunking the ball off the net. He gave Orlando a 26-7 lead on the first play of the second when he grabbed a ball that Ordway misplayed off the net at the Tampa Bay 4 and carried it into the end zone.

"It was great coming back here playing against the Storm. I've still got a ton of friends on the team," said Dell, who played at Jesuit, King and USF. "It's just always fun to play here in Tampa around my family and everything. It was fun to be able to make some plays at the beginning of the game."

But Dell, who partially tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during training camp, tore the rest of the ligament when he caught a foot in the turf while tackling Bobby Sippio early in the third.

Dell will see a doctor today and have season-ending surgery later this week or early next week.

"He's a great player and he can play a little bit of everything, and he's out for the year now," Predators coach Jay Gruden said. "That's a major injury for us because he's been nicked up a little bit, we got him back, we were excited, but now he's out for the year."

ON TOP: With six tackles, Storm linebacker Lawrence Samuels passed Tracey Perkins(348) for first place on the team's all-time list with 352.5.

"It's a great accomplishment, but I play for the wins, I don't play for the record," Samuels said. "I just play hard and try to come out and get a victory. That's what any player should be playing for."

FILLING IN: Offensive specialist Demetris Bendross and receiver/defensive back Jeff Sanchez had uneven performances after injuries forced them into the starting lineup.

Bendross, activated off injured reserve to replace Freddie Solomon, caught six passes, including two for touchdowns, but wasn't much of a downfield threat.

Sanchez, who started in place of Tramain Jones, had 5.5 tackles and a pass breakup but missed a tackle on Dell's scoring catch.

ON THE OUTS: Storm coach Tim Marcumsaid a lineup change is likely after Ordway had difficulty handling kickoffs off the net for a third consecutive game.

"He's having a lot of trouble," Marcum said, "and we'll have a new return guy."

STORM FLURRIES: Lineman Mondre Dickerson was inactive.

- FRANK PASTOR, Times staff writer