Hawaiian ram optimist here! news is that Avery may be just around the corner!
Originally Posted by stlouisrams.comRams Improving on Injury Front
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
By Nick Wagoner
In the ebb and flow of training camp, there are a few certainties.
Hot days, hard work and plenty of practice are among them. Unfortunately, so too is the injury bug. This year’s camp has been no different for the Rams.
But for all the hand wringing and consternation that comes when those injuries first strike, there’s the inevitable return to action for most of the players who are bitten by the bug.
After about two to three weeks of nothing but bad news on the injury front, the Rams are starting to get healthy.
So, it’d be fair to say that the return of some of these injured players couldn’t come at a better time as the team prepares stretch run to the final cuts and the start of the regular season?
“That’s a pretty safe statement,” coach Steve Spagnuolo said.
When the Rams stepped on the practice field on Tuesday afternoon, some familiar faces were back in the huddle. There were receivers Donnie Avery and Tim Carter running routes with the scout team and taking mental repetitions with the offense.
Defensive tackle Adam Carriker was back in the mix, working with the second team and getting back in the swing of things.
And though they didn’t practice, defensive end Leonard Little and running back Kenneth Darby said and did things that would indicate their injuries aren’t terribly serious.
Even concussed guard Jacob Bell is moving closer to a return after taking the baseline test again on Tuesday and quarterback Marc Bulger is aiming for a return in time for the opener from his broken pinkie.
None of those returns are unexpected but the speed with which Avery has moved in the direction of a comeback is a bit surprising.
Avery suffered a stress fracture in his foot during the team’s scrimmage at Lindenwood University on Aug. 7. At the time, the injury was diagnosed as a four to six week recovery from the injury.
Avery is not back fully as Spagnuolo maintains that the work he, Carriker and Carter are doing in practice is part of their rehabilitation. Nonetheless, Avery was on the practice field Tuesday catching a pair of touchdowns and running around as fast as ever.
“I knew it wasn’t going to take me four to six weeks,” Avery said. “I just, in my head knew I was going to come back soon. Like I tell my teammates, I run fast but I heal faster.”
Apparently so. The original diagnosis would have had Avery possibly missing the season opener against Seattle. Considering he’s running and practicing even if in a limited capacity well in advance of that game, it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which he won’t be ready to play against the Seahawks barring a setback.
When asked if he has any doubt about being prepared for that contest, Avery says he has “None. Zero at all.”
Avery has spent the past few weeks staying in his playbook to ensure that he doesn’t fall behind on the process of learning the new offense.
As for when he might make an official return, Avery says that will be up to Spagnuolo and the training staff. In the meantime, Avery remains eager to get back on the field as soon as possible.
“I feel like I am refreshed,” Avery said. “You could probably look at it as hurting me but at the same time look at it as being an advantage for me. Those guys have played almost three preseason games and I am coming into the season all fresh and stuff.”
The tact the Rams are taking with Avery and Carter also applies to Carriker. Carriker began doing some running and side work last week but has jumped back into the mix this week as he recovers from a sprained ankle.
For Carriker, the concern isn’t so much a pain issue as it is strengthening the same ankle he injured last season. Like the rest of his ailing teammates, Carriker acknowledges that he hasn’t enjoyed missing time and is hoping to get back into the mix sooner than later.
“It definitely hurts (missing time),” Carriker said. “I am paying attention in meetings. I am up to mental speed on everything. I know the plays, I know what to do. I have just got to get out there and start doing it.”
In the interim, Carriker is working with the backup units behind Gary Gibson rather than his usual starting spot as he gets back up to speed.
Much like Avery and Carter, Carriker isn’t likely to play against the Bengals in the third preseason game with an eye toward having him at full health in the opener at Seattle.
For now, the top priority is just getting healthy again.
“Just trying to get it stronger is the main thing,” Carriker said. “Taking on blocks, pushing off, redirecting, all that basic football stuff. I am trying to get it stronger to handle all of that.”
As for some of the shorter term injuries, the likes of Little and Darby seem to be headed for returns sooner than later.
Both were held out of Tuesday’s practice but there were plenty of indications that neither is going to miss any serious time though it’s possible neither will play against Cincinnati.
Darby didn’t practice but did do some conditioning work on the side with strength coach Rock Gullickson and caught some kickoffs after practice.
Little only suffered his sprained knee during Monday’s morning practice. But he suited up and did some work in the afternoon practice the same day.
The Rams held Little out of Tuesday’s workout but he says he is in no pain and when the Rams call the injury day to day, they mean it.
“I am not in any pain at all,” Little said. “None at all. Like I said, it just tweaked my knee a little bit. We are doing some things to try to make it feel a little better. I don’t think it’s anything serious.”
Little had an MRI on the injured knee on Monday and it showed nothing more than a sprain, which was the original diagnosis.
The prevailing thought on Little’s injury is that he could likely play in a game if there was a regular season contest this week. He won’t tip his hand on any of that, though.
“I will be day to day,” Little said. “That’s the way it is and that’s the way it’s going now. I am just day to day.”
The reality is that during training camp, most everybody is.
Yes Avery and Robinson, gotta love it! Think we might have a shot at a winning season here my friends!