Lillard Stepping in as Fever Starting QB For 2nd Straight Week

KENNEWICK, Wash. -- Three games into the Fever's season, starting linebacker Joe Thornton thought his year was over. After sustaining a knee injury against Fairbanks, doctors told Thornton he had torn his MCL.

Just four weeks later, he received a new prognosis. He had simply strained it. That meant he could play again this season. He played in the final five games of the regular season, finishing second on the team in tackles.

And in this year's IFL playoffs, he currently leads the league in that category, with 17 total tackles.

"I went back to the doctor and they said it's just a strain and I started going to work," said Thornton. "I just started strengthening and here I am now, leading the IFL in tackles in the playoffs."

"When healthy, he's one of our best players and he has been healthy lately and it has really helped us," said coach Adam Shackleford. "He can run with a receiver and he can also play in the middle and be big and be physical stopping the run. Especially without Jason Beauchamp right now, he's been really big for us. "

Thorton and the Fever take on the Allen Wranglers in the conference finals this Saturday.

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