Rookie tackle won't play against Redskins
BY STEVE KORTE
News-Democrat

ST. LOUIS - Rookie offensive tackle Alex Barron will miss the St. Louis Rams' game against the Washington Redskins on Sunday because of a thumb injury.

Barron said he was scheduled to have surgery on his thumb this morning.

"He'll be in a cast the rest of the year," Rams interim coach Joe Vitt said. "We won't have him this week, but we will have him for the following week."

The loss of Barron coupled with injuries to Orlando Pace and Blaine Saipaia leaves the Rams with two healthy offensive tackles on their roster.

Rex Tucker worked at right tackle, while Matt Morgan worked at left tackle during practice Wednesday.

Pace was listed as probable on the Rams' injury report because of hamstring and hip-flexor injuries, while Saipaia was questionable because of a concussion suffered against the Arizona Cardinals on Nov. 20.

"I think he's going to be fine," Vitt said of Pace. "We're going to give him a little bit of time off. He may come out and do some stuff (in practice) tomorrow afternoon, and definitely be ready for Friday."

Vitt said the possibility of being without both of his starting tackles against the Redskins wasn't unsettling considering everything else the team has gone through this season.

"I'm pretty weather beat right now," Vitt said. "Nothing surprises you. This team has responded well to adversity. We're going to play the hand we're dealt, that's all we can do."

Morgan, who has spent much of the last two seasons on the Rams' practice squad after being signed as an undrated free agent out of the University of Pittsburgh, has never played in an NFL game. He suited up for the Rams' game against the Houston Texans last Sunday, but he saw no action.

"I think he's gotten better," Vitt said of Morgan. "He's taken his game a lot more seriously. He has good balance. He's got a nice anchor to him. He studies hard. He has a chance to have a good future in the National Football League."

Barron said he hurt his thumb when it got caught on an opposing player's jersey or face mask early in the fourth quarter against the Texans.

"I'm not sure (how it happened)," Barron said. "My hand got caught up on something. I came to the sideline and had it checked out because I knew something was wrong."

Barron said he didn't think he'd be sidelined for an extended period of time.

"It's not looking like a season-ending thing," Barron said. "I'm going to try to get back as soon as I can."

Saipaia has yet to be cleared for contact by doctors because he's still experiencing headaches from the concussion that caused him to be hospitalized overnight.

"I'd like to be out there, but I don't want to be out there if I'm going to hurt the team or more importantly myself and my family," Saipaia said. "They told me that if I take another hit -- something that I was able to handle before -- I'll be out even longer."

Safety Adam Archuleta and cornerback DeJuan Groce both returned to practice Wednesday after missing a game because of concussions. Archuleta was listed as questionable, while Groce was listed as probable for the Redskins.