By Bill Coats
St. Louis Post-Dispatch


After a two-hour practice Thursday that featured several big hits and a brief skirmish between linebacker Larry Grant and — who else? — guard Richie Incognito, coach Jim Haslett released his players for the day. No meetings or weightlifting . . . and no weigh-in Friday morning.

Happy Thanksgiving, fellas.

“They all have plans,” Haslett said. “A bunch of players are having the guys that don’t have family (in town) over. And a couple of coaches are having some of the players over.”

The Rams certainly aren’t having a good season, but “it’s a good group of guys; I’ve said that from the get-go,” Haslett said. “They care about one another. We’re just not getting it done on the field as good as we’d like. “

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Steven Jackson (thigh) got through the second phase of his preparation to return to the lineup Sunday vs. Miami. Jackson stepped up his work Thursday, taking most of the snaps with the first team. Friday’s practice will determine Jackson’s availability for the game.

“I’ve had two good days of practice and no major setbacks,” Jackson said. “The leg is a little sore, but . . . things are going in the right direction.”

Jackson, who has missed four of the last five games, is itching to get back on the field. “I’m very anxious to get out there,” he said. “It’s been a long, long season, so to be able to finish strong, that would be ideal. And hopefully get some more wins. I’d love to go out 5-0.”

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Notes & quotes:

*Rookie David Vobora took most of the reps with the first team at middle linebacker, and Haslett said “there’s a chance” he could make his first start Sunday. Will Witherspoon is dealing with injuries to both shoulders.

*Witherspoon refuses to take painkillers. “I made a promise a long time ago to my mom that if ever had to start playing every single week with painkillers or shots or anything like that, then I wasn’t going to be playing,” he explained. Not even an aspirin? “I’m allergic to aspirin, so I can’t do that,” he said.

*After getting perhaps 5 minutes notice last Sunday that he’d be replacing Nick Leckey at center, Brett Romberg said, “It’s nice to have a week of preparation under the belt, get a game plan, and then focus on it.” Leckey is finished for the season with a broken foot.

*WR Keenan Burton returned to practice Thursday. He sat out Wednesday after having his knee drained.

All for now . . .