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  1. #1
    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Adam Carriker on the road to recovery

    By Nick Wagoner

    Senior Writer
    In putting the finishing touches on a solid rookie campaign, the normally reserved Adam Carriker couldn’t help but let his emotions get the better of him.

    Carriker had started the whole season, working as a valuable cog in a defense in which he played every position on the line. Suddenly any joy he had been able to take from his first season work vanished, replaced by the stinging pain in his bent back shoulder.

    “I’m not going to lie,” Carriker said. “I was pretty livid. I was like ‘Are you serious?’ I go the whole year, I don’t know how many plays I played and then the last game of the year I get hurt. I was really upset.”

    t was the second play of the game against Arizona on Dec.30, the season finale and Carriker’s last chance to make a strong first impression. As per usual for the defensive tackle, Carriker was taking on a double team.

    Carriker tried to get off the blocks but felt his shoulder moving in the opposite direction of the rest of his body. Finally, the shoulder popped and Carriker found himself in a great deal of pain.

    Carriker did his best to play through the pain, finishing the first half and playing the early portion of the third quarter. By then, it had become clear to Carriker and the coaching staff that he was no longer effective and simply trying to tough it out. A quarter and a half early, Carriker’s rookie season ended abruptly.

    When Carriker arrived back in St. Louis, he met with the medical staff to determine the severity of his injury. The verdict? A torn labrum in his shoulder that would require six months of rehabilitation.

    In other words, from the time Carriker had surgery in the middle of January, he wouldn’t be able to return to the field until training camp in July at the earliest.
    At least, that was what the doctors ordered. But judging the progress Carriker has made in the past four plus months and the fact that he’s doing some individual work at this weekend’s minicamp, there’s a strong chance Carriker will not only be ready to go in time for training camp but could be at full strength.

    “I think it is amazing how fast he has recovered,” coach Scott Linehan said. “Generally, with an injury like that, it is four to six months before you can do anything. I think in this case he could probably be able to play a game if we had to play one. I said it was youth but I think a lot of it has to do with work ethic and want. That guy has been busting his butt since the end of the season to get to where he is at. It has really paid off.”

    Indeed, Carriker has attacked his rehab with the same voracious appetite that helped make him the Rams’ No. 1 pick in 2007. Soon after his surgery, Carriker wasn’t able to lift his arm above his shoulder without the help of someone else.

    Within a few weeks, his range of motion began to improve and Carriker was able to start doing some light dumbbell work with 2 and 5 pound weights. Sooner than expected, though, Carriker was back doing a more normal workout routine.

    Carriker has also had a reliable teammate to lean on throughout his rehab, frequently touching base with left tackle Orlando Pace. Pace also suffered a torn labrum – though he had a torn rotator cuff also – and has been a common motivator for Carriker.

    “I don’t know exactly but I heard his is a lot more serious so it’s going to take more time,” Carriker said. “We do check with each other and see how the other is doing, what’s going on and how it feels.”

    Although is strength isn’t completely back, he is much closer to being back to where he was than he expected, which is certainly a pleasant surprise in Carriker’s eyes.

    “I am a little bit surprised,” Carriker said. “I’m not going to complain though because it’s a good thing.”

    At this weekend’s minicamp, Carriker is taking his time in recovery but still doing plenty of work in individual drills and the walk through. But Carriker isn’t limiting his offseason progress to recovering from the injury.

    “I would like to get my upper body strength at least back to where it was and be a lot stronger in my legs,” Carriker said. “But I also need to focus on learning the defense. We are putting in a few new things, not a whole lot but I want to know it inside and out. I want to know what the ends do, maybe the linebackers so it’s just kind of second nature to me.”

    Carriker earned the team’s Rookie of the Year honor for his 45 tackles, two sacks and fumble recovery all while playing every position on the defensive line. Carriker is expected to work mainly as a three technique defensive tackle in his sophomore season but he says he actually prefers being used as a veritable Swiss Army Knife along the defensive line.

    “I actually really like what I did last year,” Carriker said. “I like getting the opportunity to play everything. It’s a lot more challenging and you have to know a lot of different stuff and a lot more about every defense not just certain plays. But it was a lot of fun because you get a lot more variance and the opportunity to do a lot more things. It keeps things interesting.”

    It remains to be seen when Carriker will get his full clearance but if it’s not sooner than later expect another rare, angry outburst.
    “If I’m not ready for training camp, I will be very upset,” Carriker said. “That’s two or three months away.”


  2. #2
    Mooselini's Avatar
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    Re: Adam Carriker on the road to recovery

    Good good news. Glad to see how strong this guy is. Glad we picked him last year. Long and Carriker on the same line...seems great.

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    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: Adam Carriker on the road to recovery

    Quote Originally Posted by Mooselini View Post
    Good, good news. Glad to see how strong this guy is. Glad we picked him last year. Long and Carriker on the same line...seems great.

    That's right Moose!

  4. #4
    Milan's Avatar
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    Re: Adam Carriker on the road to recovery

    I'm still kind of worried about his injury.

    I didn't get too many Rams games last year but was he double teamed frequently?

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    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Re: Adam Carriker on the road to recovery

    It's great to hear that he's doing so well at this point, hopefully he'll be ready to go full bore by the time we start playing games that count. Until then I'll remain cautiously optimistic ..

  6. #6
    Mooselini's Avatar
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    Re: Adam Carriker on the road to recovery

    Quote Originally Posted by Milan View Post
    I'm still kind of worried about his injury.

    I didn't get too many Rams games last year but was he double teamed frequently?
    Same here. I didn't get to watch too many games. But I did see a few double teams.

    This year will be fun to watch. Whomever they double team, theyre in for a great suprise from someone else on the line.

    I'm not too worried. He seems like a very tough kid. I know he's going to come back strong, and it's going to be fun watching him.

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    Re: Adam Carriker on the road to recovery

    im excited to see how Carriker does now he is working mainly as a UT.
    Im really excited to see how Ryan progresses. Ryan is the real key to the line play. If he can swallow up two blockers every play its going to be fun seeing the pressure that Little, Long and Carriker can put on the opposition QB

    i think we could have a decent run stopping line as well

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