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Rams Are Cautious With Jason Smith
St. Louis Rams are cautious with Jason Smith
BY BILL COATS
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Rookie tackle Jason Smith's unexpected trip Sunday from the Edward Jones Dome to Barnes-Jewish Hospital was a stark illustration of the NFL's growing concern over head injuries.
Smith suffered a concussion Nov. 22 against Arizona. Twice last week he failed a follow-up neurological exam and was kept out of uniform vs. Seattle.
The No. 2 overall pick in the draft, Smith was watching from the sideline when he became dizzy and started vomiting late in the third quarter. "The doctors wanted to get some precautionary tests done to make sure there was nothing new going on with his concussion recovery," Jim Anderson, the Rams' head trainer, explained Monday. "All his tests were normal, and he was released afterward."
Several players around the league were grounded Sunday while recovering from concussions. That group included quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger of Pittsburgh and Kurt Warner of Arizona, and running backs Brian Westbrook of Philadelphia and Clinton Portis of Washington.
"With the environment we're in, I think it's a serious thing," Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "I think we ought to be careful with it."
Smith didn't argue that point Monday, although he did maintain that offensive linemen "get concussions all the time. You clear up and keep playing. I probably had one or two of them in camp while I was here. We hit helmet to helmet all the time, and you get a little woozy."
Smith, who said he'd never missed a game because of a concussion, experienced a variety of symptoms last week. "I felt a lot of different ways," he said. "But yesterday I was feeling real bad."
Although Smith said Monday that he feels "great — 310 pounds of twisted steel and sex appeal," he still must pass the five-tiered neuro exam before he'll be permitted to suit up again.
"I feel the organization is doing a great job of making sure that I don't have anything that's lingering, to where I can play a hundred percent," he said. "Who knows? Tomorrow, I might be Superman again; right now, I'm just Batman — can't fly."
The knee injury that sent center Jason Brown to the sideline late in the first half was diagnosed as a moderate sprain. "We'll see if we can't get him to Wednesday's practice, but we'll tread lightly on that one," Spagnuolo said.
Linebacker James Laurinaitis is nursing a mild shoulder sprain, and running back Steven Jackson, who played despite experiencing back spasms all last week, "obviously came out sore ... nothing more serious than that," Spagnuolo reported.
The rest of the Rams' injuries were mostly bumps and bruises.
For the first time all season, offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur deployed four-wideout sets. That meant that Ruvell Martin, the No. 4 wide receiver, got onto the field. And he produced.
Martin, 6 feet 4 and 220 pounds, had two catches in the first half, one for 33 yards and another for 27. But that was the extent of his work in the 27-17 defeat.
"I don't know that I have a good answer for that," Spagnuolo conceded before explaining that once the coaches determine the three wide receivers who will get the bulk of the play, they don't waver.
"During the week, we get certain packages, and (decide on) the three wide receivers ... and that's set in stone," he said. "(If) somebody gets hurt or we think somebody's not doing their job, you make a replacement. But I don't think that was the case."
Danny Amendola, Donnie Avery and Brandon Gibson combined for 14 catches and 121 yards, with Avery scoring on a 1-yard pass from quarterback Kyle Boller.
Kickoff for the Rams' home game vs. the Titans on Dec. 13 has been moved to 3:05 p.m. as part of the NFL's flex-scheduling option. ... With 1,120 yards, Jackson remains the No. 2 rusher in the league, behind Tennessee's Chris Johnson (1,396). ... Laurinaitis had 10 tackles Sunday, including his first pro sack, according to the coaches' film review. He's amassed a team-high 106 tackles for the season.
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Re: Rams Are Cautious With Jason Smith
Definitely have to err on the side of caution with Jason Smith- no matter how long it takes. Obviously his physical well being is of the greatest importance, but he is also too valuable a player for the Rams down the road to jeopardize him further. This whole concussion thing is getting way out of hand in the NFL.
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