Martz rolls with punches of key injuries
By Jim Thomas
Of the Post-Dispatch

MACOMB, Ill. - In terms of devastating news, it doesn't quite rank with quarterback Trent Green's season-ending knee injury in 1999. Nonetheless, the news that right tackle Kyle Turley and center Dave Wohlabaugh will be sidelined for lengthy periods wasn't exactly an August pick-me-up for coach Mike Martz.

"But that happened last year to us - just at other positions," Martz said. "That's why those other guys are there. If you didn't feel good about those guys - a Scotty Tercero, for instance, or Grant Williams - then they shouldn't be there. And fortunately, both those guys have risen to the occasion."

Turley (back) and Wohlabaugh (hip) have taken longer than expected to recover from offseason surgery. Both players left Macomb to get further medical evaluation on their injuries. The Rams got the results of those evaluations prior to the Chicago preseason game.

Turley will be sidelined for at least four weeks, with emphasis on the "at least."

"Kyle's going to take some time," Martz said. "The doctors said four weeks, and then they'll have an idea about how it feels, how he feels. And what direction he's going to go with that."

As for Wohlabaugh. ...

"That's a three-month deal," Martz said.

Which is about three months longer than the Rams expected.

"I felt like we'd have him for camp," Martz said. "That's how I understood it from his doctor up there in Ohio. And then I really felt like we would have him by now. So obviously we're disappointed. And I've got to tell you, Dave is very disappointed. He wants to play."

No vanilla from Lovie

Most teams don't get too fancy in the preseason, particularly the preseason opener. But there was nothing vanilla about head coach Lovie Smith's defense for Chicago. The Bears blitzed early and often.

A few years ago, Martz was critical of blitzing by Tennessee's Jeff Fisher in a preseason game against the Rams. But he had no complaints about the Bears' blitzes, perhaps because of his close relationship with Smith - the Rams' former defensive coordinator.

"I think that's what they are," Martz said. "I think that's what Ron (Rivera) wants to do. I kind of felt like they would."

Rivera is the Bears defensive coordinator.

"That's OK," Martz continued. "That doesn't bother me at all. It's good for us to see that stuff, because it helps our guys that haven't played see pressure situations in a game-type atmosphere. A guy like Andy King, a guy like Steven Jackson - they need to see that stuff."

Injury report is light

Martz said running back Arlen Harris suffered more of a stinger than a concussion against Chicago and should be back on the practice field Sunday when the team returns to work.

Linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa also may be able to practice, despite suffering a sprained ankle in the first quarter against the Bears.

Wide receiver Kevin Curtis will get less work in practice this week because of shin splints.

"He's hobbled up pretty good," Martz said. "We need to kind of back off him a little bit. And Dane (Looker) is going to probably have to pick up the load out there."

No excuses on fumble

The Rams were headed for at least a try at a game-winning field goal with 2 1/2 minutes to play Thursday, when Bears linebacker Joe Odom (Civic Memorial) jarred the ball loose from Looker for a fumble. It appeared that Odom grabbed Looker around the helmet, which should've been a penalty.

But Martz said, "It doesn't matter. That's a situation where Dane just needs to get the ball, and get down, and you spot the ball and let's go. He should have avoided that. He's aware of that. It was just a learning experience."