The Baltimore CFLs' passing game suffered a jolt yesterday when wide receiver Walter Wilson separated his right shoulder diving for a pass in practice.
The injury was diagnosed as a first-degree separation, but X-rays were negative, according to coach Don Matthews. That leaves Wilson's availability uncertain for Sunday's Eastern Division final against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
"I think I'll be ready by Sunday," Wilson said.
In two regular-season games against the Bombers, he had a team-high nine catches for 137 yards and one touchdown.
Matthews said Wilson would make this morning's charter flight to Winnipeg with the possibility of playing.
If Wilson, of Southern High in Baltimore, is unable to play, he will
be replaced in the starting lineup by Mike Alexander, a former NFL receiver.
Wilson landed on his right shoulder diving for a pass early in offensive drills at Memorial Stadium and was replaced by Alexander, a 6-foot-3, 205-pounder.
"It's just a matter of going in and getting the job done," Alexander said of the possibility of his new role.
A product of Penn State, Alexander was cut by the Los Angeles Raiders last August for the third time. He signed with the CFLs in the eighth week of the season.
"It was an opportunity I wanted to take advantage of," he said.
He was deactivated for last week's playoff game against Toronto, but started in the regular-season finale at Sacramento.
Sunday night rally
The Baltimore Colts' Band and the CFLs' cheerleaders will participate in a "Welcome home pep rally" at BWI when the team returns from Winnipeg Sunday night. The rally starts at 9 p.m., and the team is expected to return by 11 p.m.
The rally will be held at Air Cargo D off Route 170.
Matthews said running back Mike Pringle will replace defensive back/linebacker Brad Clark on the active roster this week. . . . Nose tackle Jearld Baylis missed his third straight practice with a sore calf yesterday, but insists he'll play. "I don't care if they need me or not, I'm not sitting this one out," Baylis said. . . . Practice roster cornerback Kwami Smith worked out last week for the Carolina Panthers, one of two NFL expansion teams due to play next season. Smith made the tryout cut from 60 to 14.