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Injured Rams throw, catch, raise hopes
By Jim Thomas
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Over the past three seasons, Rams fans - and Rams players, for that matter - have grown accustomed to seeing Marc Bulger toss footballs to Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce.
But this week marks the first time all three have been on the practice field together since late September.
"It's good to see Isaac out there moving around and catching some balls," Holt said Thursday. "It was good to see Marc throwing some balls and making some completions. So it was definitely a good sight for all of us to be out there participating. ... It was like old times."
But not exactly vintage old times:
-- Bulger, who will start Sunday in Seattle, experienced some soreness in his sprained throwing shoulder Monday, although he said Thursday that he felt fine.
-- Although optimistic about his injured right knee, Holt stopped short of saying he definitely would play against Seattle.
-- The status of Bruce, who has kept a low media profile since his Sept. 25 turf toe injury, remains the most questionable of the three Pro Bowlers.
But there were optimistic signs on all fronts Thursday at Rams Park.
"Marc really threw the long ball well today," interim head coach Joe Vitt said after Thursday's practice. "He's got good zip on the ball. His pocket presence is there. He's anticipating his throws. He's reading coverages. I thought he looked sharp."
As for Holt and Bruce?
"They've looked better every day so far," Vitt said. "So they continue to progress, which is encouraging."
Holt will wait until Saturday before making a decision on his availability for the NFC West showdown against the Seahawks.
"My plan is play Sunday," Holt said. "I'm going to continue to monitor (the knee) day to day. I'll try to go out there and practice the way I'm going to play in the game and keep my fingers crossed.
"And then Saturday morning, if there's no swelling and no discomfort, then I'll come in, I'll sit down with Vitt and we'll make a decision on it. I'm sure he'll ask me, 'How do you feel? Do you feel like you're ready to go?' He'll ask the trainers the same thing, and hopefully, it'll be a yes all the way across the board."
Holt said he has no swelling, no soreness and no discomfort in the knee, which was injured in the Rams' first game against Seattle this season Oct. 9 at the Edward Jones Dome. He has been wearing a brace on the knee this week in practice.
"I don't necessarily like the brace," Holt said. "But I understand what it's there for. It definitely allows me to have some confidence. It allows me to have some stability in the knee."
At the moment, Holt said, the brace is restricting his movement a little bit.
"I can't pick 'em up and put 'em down as quickly as I would like to," Holt said.
The Rams originally described the injury as a bruised knee, then Holt told the Post-Dispatch a couple of weeks ago that he had sprained a ligament. But in his comments Thursday to reporters, Holt hinted strongly that he had suffered a torn ligament, which sources say is indeed the case.
"Talking with the doctor (Wednesday), he said things are scarring up a little bit," Holt said. "The scar tissue is starting to take place, so that's going to allow things to heal up, make things a little safer."
Scar tissue develops when torn ligaments are healing.
In any event, Holt is on the verge of playing. Despite his work on the practice field this week, Bruce's availability remains less certain.
"Getting Torry back is obviously going to be huge. But Isaac, I wouldn't say he's 100 percent back yet," Bulger said. "We'll see how (Bruce) feels. We don't want to rush him. We don't want to lose him for the year. ... It's one of those nagging injuries where if you just move it the wrong way, it flares up."
As for his shoulder injury, Bulger said, "I did everything on Monday and probably even a little more because I did a couple extra drills. I just wanted to see where it was at. It was a little sore. But the day off Tuesday helped."
Bulger cut back on his throwing after Monday's practice, and that has helped.
"When we go to special teams periods, (the quarterbacks) do a lot of footwork drills and throw the ball," Bulger said. "I'll keep doing the footwork, but I'll just hold back on 20 or 30 unnecessary throws, which will help save it a little bit."
Bulger also has cut back on some of his rehab-related work because he thinks it's not helping the shoulder. "(Throwing) 50 to 100 balls a day, I think, is enough for it, in my own personal opinion," he said.
Re: Injured Rams throw, catch, raise hopes
It will be nice to have Bruce back, even if it's as the # 3 or 4 WR. His presence on the field will be a big factor. "Big Game" will play, I can't see him missing a big game like this.JUST WIN ONE FOR THE FANS
"HIT HARD, HIT FAST, AND HIT OFTEN"Adm. William "Bull" Halsey
Re: Injured Rams throw, catch, raise hopes
this is a playoff game for the rams, everyone will play and play well.