By Jim Thomas

After completing his second practice of the week, Rams running back Steven Jackson sounded optimistic Thursday about playing Sunday against Miami.

"I've had two good days of practice and no major setbacks," Jackson said. "The leg's a little sore but I was able to, I guess, give Coach (Jim) Haslett what he wanted to see. ... He said that if I practice, I would play, so that's what I intend on doing."

But Haslett is still taking a wait-and-see approach. Jackson has missed four of the Rams' past five games with a right thigh injury, and was limited to about 15 plays in the one game he played during that stretch, against Arizona.

"As (Thursday's) practice wore on, I thought it was better," Haslett said. "But we'll talk to the coaches and Steven and see how he is and make sure that he's 100 percent. He still has to put it in the ground."

In other words, Haslett wants to see Jackson go full speed and push off the leg on the practice field. Jackson looked good in practice Thursday, but didn't quite run at full speed.

Jackson experienced some soreness after Wednesday's practice, but nothing resembling a setback that would jeopardize his availability for Miami. Jackson said the thigh was "light years ahead" of how it felt when he played against Arizona on Nov. 2.

"I'm able to cut, I'm able to burst, and I'm able to do all the agility things that I need to do in the hole," Jackson said. "Dodging the defender and all of that."

With the Rams suffering a five-game losing streak, Jackson is eager to play Sunday.

"It's been a long four weeks, and it's been a long, long season," Jackson said. "So to be able to finish strong, that would be ideal, and hopefully get some more wins in the win column."

Jackson will be a little rusty against the Dolphins, but his presence in the huddle should provide a lift for the offense, and the entire team.

"I don't know about the team, but it would do a lot for me and my spirits right now," he said.