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Rams' Archuleta played part of year with herniated disc
By Jim Thomas
Of the Post-Dispatch
Friday, Feb. 18 2005
Adam Archuleta got some jarring news when he visited a back specialist in San
Francisco in late January. Namely, that he had played at least part of the 2004
season with a herniated disc in his back.
At least that was the diagnosis of Jeff Saal, a nationally recognized expert in
non-surgical treatment for back injuries.
Archuleta's reaction was part disappointment.
"I'm dealing with kind of a career (threatening) deal," Archuleta said. "A
back, if not taken care of, can cause serious problems. I'm kind of scared. But
at the same time, I'm kind of amazed that I was actually able to play strong
safety with this type of deal going on."
For that reason, Archuleta's reaction was also part relief.
"I (thought), 'Well at least I'm not crazy,'" Archuleta said. "I know it wasn't
just a figment of my imagination all season. In a way, it made me feel better
about what I was going through."
Initial test results, done early in the 2004 season, showed that Archuleta had
a bulging disc in the back. While nothing to laugh at, a bulging disc isn't as
serious as a herniated disc.
"At the time, I was told that it was not a big deal," Archuleta said. "That it
was a typical football player's back. That I had the same thing that Marshall
(Faulk) had. The same thing that Torry (Holt) had. The same thing that Rich
(Coady) had. So I asked those guys how they were feeling. And they were like,
Because they still were playing, Archuleta figured he should do the same.
"I was still able to go out there and play, albeit not at the level that I or
anybody else expected me to play at," Archuleta said.
As a result, Archuleta probably hurt his reputation as a player. He was limited
to nickel and dime back duty in October games in San Francisco and Seattle, but
otherwise kept playing.
"It was a weird and bad situation to be in," Archuleta said. "You feel like you
have an obligation to your team, and your teammates. And at what point, when
you're not 100 percent, do you say, 'I can't play?' I've never been faced with
that in my career."
It is now clear, according to Saal's evaluation, that Archuleta's back
deteriorated as the season progressed. Archuleta has been undergoing treatment
from Saal, who is based at Stanford University Hospital, since shortly after
the Rams' playoff loss to Atlanta.
Archuleta received an epidural shot of medication on Feb. 2, and received
another epidural on Wednesday.
"Adam's made tremendous strides over the last couple weeks," said his agent,
Gary Wichard. "So we're hoping for another big quantum leap in the next two
There are no more scheduled epidurals, just more treatment and rehabilitation
before gradually getting back to a normal schedule of offseason workouts and
"Now it's just a question of trying to keep him corralled," Wichard said. "He
wants to work out. He's feeling good. But he's got to stay fairly inactive the
next couple weeks, and then start back into his (workout) program."
Surgery is not being contemplated, and Archuleta scoffed at the suggestion that
his playing status might be clouded for the 2005 season.
"C'mon," Archuleta said. "I trust Dr. Saal. I trust his medical expertise. He
fully expects me to be 100 percent and ready to go, and never have a back
problem again as long as I'm playing - as long as we do the right things, and I
don't take any steps back.
"It's just a matter of giving my disc a chance to heal. I will be back
physically better than I've ever been. Trust me on that. ... There's a lot of
things going on other than the obvious fact that 'Arch' didn't make as many
plays as he used to. Just relax a bit."
In the midst of the back treatments, Archuleta learned this week that he is
being switched to free safety. (With Pisa Tinoisamoa being switched to strong
safety from linebacker.)
"I haven't really had a chance to mull it over much," Archuleta said. Then he
added with a laugh, "Hey, whatever (the coaches) say. As long as I'm physically
where I need to be, and I feel good mentally, it doesn't matter where they put
me. It's too early to worry about that stuff."
Because he played linebacker in college, pass coverage has been something
Archuleta has had to work on after being switched to strong safety in the NFL.
In theory, the free safety position involves even more coverage
responsibilities than strong safety.
"The thing that I need to work on, and the thing that I need to improve on that
will help me get to the next level, isn't my coverage," Archuleta said.
"Because I rarely if ever get beat. It's just a matter of making a play on the
Archuleta isn't an excuse maker, so that's only a slight exaggeration. He
frequently was in position to make plays last season, but didn't.
"Obviously, I had a couple opportunities last year," he said. "I had a couple
dropped balls. I need to start learning how to play the ball, and break on the
ball instead of the man, and start shifting my eye focus from the receiver to
Re: Rams' Archuleta played part of year with herniated discI'm dealing with kind of a career (threatening) deal," Archuleta said. "A back, if not taken care of, can cause serious problems. I'm kind of scared.
"Now it's just a question of trying to keep him corralled," Wichard said. "He wants to work out. He's feeling good. But he's got to stay fairly inactive the next couple weeks, and then start back into his (workout) program."
"C'mon," Archuleta said. "I trust Dr. Saal. I trust his medical expertise. He fully expects me to be 100 percent and ready to go, and never have a back problem again as long as I'm playing - as long as we do the right things, and I don't take any steps back. "It's just a matter of giving my disc a chance to heal.
Originally Posted by Archuleta on playing FS
There are a lot of "ifs" related to Archuleta this year. It will interesting to see how the "ifs" turn out.[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
Re: Rams' Archuleta played part of year with herniated discOriginally Posted by RamWraithClanRam ModCast: Episode Four
Rams Discussion Right at Your Fingertips!
-02-19-2005 #4psycho9985 Guest
Re: Rams' Archuleta played part of year with herniated disc
I dont Know how guys like Adam can keep playing with that kind of injury.I've had back problems before and couldnt play with a puppy.
-02-20-2005 #5theodus69 Guest
Re: Rams' Archuleta played part of year with herniated disc
As bad as that D was last year, they should have rested him!