riday, August 27, 2004

By Nick Wagoner
Staff Writer

There has been no shortage of injuries to Rams’ running backs in the past few years. From the knee problems of Marshall Faulk to Arlen Harris’ slight concussion, the injuries have ranged from serious to minor. Lamar Gordon is no different from his backfield mates.

The only difference between Gordon and the other running backs is Gordon knew he was injured, but nobody else seemed to understand. Gordon complained about sharp pain in his left ankle for the better part of the past few years. He estimates that he has felt the pain since his junior year of college and had the foot looked at countless times.

A few weeks ago, the doctors finally found what Gordon knew was there all along. Gordon had what coach Mike Martz described as “chips” in his ankle that were almost undetectable. On Aug. 10, Gordon had surgery on the ankle at Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital in St. Louis.

Now that Gordon has had surgery on his left foot, he is back running and edging closer to being able to play in St. Louis’ season opener against Arizona on Sept. 12. His expected recovery time was about four weeks, but Gordon seems to be progressing slightly ahead of the curve. “It feels good to really feel no pain right now,” Gordon said. “I could always feel it, but sometimes it just swelled up too bad. I know the difference between that pain and a simple cut that has to heal and that pain was gone.”

Gordon ran for the first time on Wednesday and felt good enough after that session to run again Thursday afternoon. Gordon first had his foot looked at in college at North Dakota State, but had it checked numerous times, including at the combine. The injury did not show up in any of those checks and Gordon performed well enough for the Rams to draft him in the third round of the 2002 draft.

Gordon said it was exasperating to know he was injured, but none of the tests confirming his pain.

“It was so frustrating because I know my body,” Gordon said. “I have played football for a long time, I know when something’s sore, I know when’s something hurt, but I know from watching film if something is going to be bothering me.”

Martz had his doubts about the injury, but had no way of knowing that Gordon was hurt because he couldn’t see the injury on an X-Ray and couldn’t physically feel the pain. Martz publicly apologized to Gordon after he found out the injury was real.

Gordon said Martz didn’t owe him anything, but it was nice to hear the coach do it anyway.

“I guess it was cool,” Gordon said. “I never really thought about it like that. A lot of people asked me ‘We’re you like I told you so?’ I wasn’t really like that. I was just happy that they found it and I’m excited to get back.”

INJURY UPDATES: There was little change on the injury front at Thursday’s practice. Jimmy Kennedy (foot), Jeremy Phillips (neck) and Adam Timmerman (shoulder) were the only Rams to do almost no work.

Robert Cromartie (hamstring), DeJuan Groce (knee) and Gordon did some running work.

Martz said tackle Grant Williams is coming along better, also.

“His big issue isn’t so much the pain as just keeping that thing strong,” Martz said. “It is getting stronger again, so I think he feels much better now than he did a week ago.”

THE GREAT OUTDOORS: The Rams practiced outside for the first time since leaving Macomb one week ago. They were greeted by the hottest day of training camp.

JUST VISITING: Cable station VH-1 recorded promos today at Rams Park with a host of Rams players that will run during home games at the Edward Jones Dome. Contrary to his claims, defensive end Bryce Fisher was not the subject of a “Fabulous Life of Bryce Fisher” biopic on the channel as Fisher joked after practice.

ROSTER MOVE: The Rams made a roster move late Wednesday, releasing G Jason Lensmeier, a rookie from New Mexico.