The Baltimore Stallions have dealt with their share of injuries on the offensive line and in the defensive secondary. Now the receiver corps has produced the latest batch of wounded.
During the first half of Saturday's 42-32 victory over Shreveport -- in which Baltimore nearly blew a 36-point lead by allowing four fourth-quarter touchdowns -- wide receiver Robert Clark and slotback Reggie Perry were lost. Clark sprained his right ankle and will miss at least three weeks. Perry's right knee sprain will sideline him for four to six weeks.
"We really were scrambling at the receiver positions," said Baltimore coach Don Matthews, who inserted kick returner Chris Wright and fullback Peter Tuipulotu as wide-outs, mainly as decoys.
Besides placing more of a burden on veteran slotback Chris Armstrong, who responded with five catches for 102 yards and two touchdowns, the injuries left more room for rookies Mark Orlando and Toby Cates to step up, and they did so.
Orlando hauled in his first touchdown catch as a pro, a 30-yarder from quarterback Tracy Ham early in the second half to give Baltimore a 29-3 lead. Cates, signed two weeks ago, had three receptions for 37 yards and threw a block that helped Ham complete a 19-yard scramble for a touchdown.
Wide-out Shannon Culver is due back from a neck injury for Sunday's game in Saskatchewan. Cates will start at the other wide-out, and Orlando will complement Armstrong inside.
Defensively, the Stallions forced three fumbles -- they have forced 50 turnovers in 14 games -- scored a touchdown and generally stuffed the Pirates for three quarters. Over that stretch, Baltimore allowed only three points, 31 rushing yards and 229 total yards.
Then came the uneasy fourth quarter, when Shreveport quarterback Billy Joe Tolliver (33-for-46, 395 yards) led a surge that produced 269 yards and 29 points, the most Baltimore has given up in a quarter.
NOTES: In Perry and Clark, the Stallions have lost two efficient receivers. Perry, who caught three passes for 45 yards before getting hurt, has 25 receptions for 402 yards (16.1-yard average) and two touchdowns. Clark was averaging 17.5 yards on 21 catches. . . . In his past three games, Ham has completed 55 of 81 passes for 813 yards and five touchdowns. . . . Mike Pringle increased his CFL-leading rushing total to 1,414 yards. . . . Linebacker O. J. Brigance (groin) and halfback Charles Anthony (hip) could miss some practice time this week, and special teams player Greg Tucker is questionable for Sunday's game with a sprained ankle.