KENNEWICK -- The Tri-Cities Fever have just two byes this season.
The team just had one last week, it plays at Omaha on Friday, then goes into the other bye the following week.
From that point on -- April 10, basically -- the Fever plays every week through the regular season's end on June 12.
That's 10 straight weeks of games.
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"Ideally, I think the first bye worked out perfect," said Fever coach Adam Shackleford. "The second one would have been great in Week 10, 11 or 12. It's tough in the back half of the season not having some break."
But it is what it is, said Shackleford. It's been on the schedule for months.
The good news is it's given guys like Fever quarterback Houston Lillard time to heal from his turf toe injury.
Lillard wasn't supposed to play in Tri-Cities' 50-36 win over the Fairbanks Grizzlies on March 12. But when backup QB Antwon Young struggled, Lillard stepped in and tossed seven touchdown passes in the victory.
"We took time off last week and got healthy," Shackleford said. "We actually moved things up this week and practiced Sunday and Monday. Lillard is doing good. He practiced all week and is going to start against Omaha."
The team also made some changes this week, releasing offensive lineman Ken Ackerman -- a starter all last season for Tri-Cities -- and running back Mike McClendon.
"Ackerman was kind of our fifth guy," said Shackleford. "He was not dressing and we just decided to go with four (offensive linemen). He's a guy I like very much, but he's also an assistant coach at Humboldt State.
"As for McClendon, we just decided to go a different direction."
The team signed three others -- defensive linemen Jake Killeen and Brian Rackley, and defensive back Dwain Crawford.
Killeen was recently cut by the Georgia Force of the Arena Football League, while Rackley was with the New Orleans Saints last year.
Crawford, recently released by the Tulsa Talons of the AFL, returns to the Fever after playing 10 games last season for the team.
Crawford will especially be needed Friday after Tri-Cities defensive backs Dustin Bell and Dennis Rogan will sit out Friday's game after being suspended by the Indoor Football League for fighting and being ejected in the March 12 win over Fairbanks.
"I wasn't very happy with our guys retaliating against (Fairbanks' guys), and now both are suspended for this game," Shackleford said.
What he was happy with was how the defense -- led by defensive coordinator Ryan Lingenfelder and special teams coach Cleveland Pratt -- was able to adjust with 10 minutes still remaining in the game and the outcome still very much in doubt.
"I also liked how after Antwon Young struggled at quarterback, he wants to help the team and asks to play at wide receiver," Shackleford said. "And our kicking game continues to be good. I think we have a tremendous kicker in Gary Cismesia."
As an added bonus this week, the Fever have linebacker Jason Beauchamp back.
Beauchamp left the team two weeks ago for the Las Vegas Locomotives of the UFL.
"But Las Vegas told him they weren't signing anybody until they know what the NFL is going to do," Shackleford said. "He told them that until they know, he's going back to play for Tri-Cities."