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    Rams Notebook: Tinoisamoa says injury won't keep him from playing

    By Bill Coats
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    09/21/2006



    Although he was listed as "questionable" on Wednesday's injury report, Pisa Tinoisamoa insisted that there is no question: He will play at Arizona.

    "Oh, yeah, man. Come on ... it's not going to hold me down," Tinoisamoa said. "I'll be there Sunday."

    Tinoisamoa, the Rams' starting weak side linebacker, dislocated his left elbow early in the second half Sunday in San Francisco and didn't return to the game. Make that wasn't permitted to return.

    When he marched out of the locker room at Monster Park later in the third quarter, Tinoisamoa was intercepted by head trainer Jim Anderson and rerouted toward the bench. Meanwhile, others hid his helmet.




    Vowing to be ready for the Cardinals "would be standard for Pisa; that's just the way he thinks," coach Scott Linehan said. "And that's why he's got a good chance of playing this weekend."

    By the NFL's definition, "questionable" means that a player's chance of being ready for the next game is only 50-50. But remember, this player didn't miss a game two years ago despite suffering a dislocated right shoulder in the opener, followed by at least eight subsequent occasions when the shoulder popped out of joint. He underwent surgery in the offseason.

    Then, Tinoisamoa had to wear a bulky harness, which he called "one of the worst things I've put on in my life." This time, his elbow will be braced and taped.

    "The brace will restrict me some, but for the most part, it's just support," he said. "I'm going to need both arms with (the Cardinals); they've got a great offense."

    Tinoisamoa has suited up for all 53 regular-season and postseason games since entering the league in 2003. Missing No. 54 simply isn't an option, he stressed.

    "I have a lot of family coming out, and it's back on the West Coast," said Tinoisamoa, a Vista, Calif., native. "I love to play out that way."



    Hedgecock reclaims role in offense

    Six weeks after suffering a sprain high on his left ankle, fullback Madison Hedgecock finally appears to have regained his health, as well as his role in the offense. Hedgecock was in for 19 plays in Sunday's 20-13 loss to the *****, compared with eight for Paul Smith.

    "I love playing, and it was a lot of fun. I just wish we could've won," said Hedgecock, who reported that the ankle "doesn't bother me anymore."

    Hedgecock, a seventh-round draft choice from North Carolina, started all last season as a rookie. At least partly because of the injury, he lost the job to Smith in the preseason. Linehan indicated that the two players -- who are busy on special teams, too -- now would share the fullback duties.

    "We'd like to use them both, for various reasons," Linehan said. "There are certain things that we think both do well."

    Davis' learning process continues

    After getting in for just one snap in the season opener, Stephen Davis spelled first-team running back Steven Jackson for most of the second quarter against the *****. In 10 plays over three series, Davis picked up 16 yards on five carries and caught a 2-yard pass.

    "The more (work) I can get, the better I get," Davis said. "It's just a process. When I get my chances, I've just got to make the best of them."

    Davis, signed Sept. 1 to back up Jackson, said his grasp of the offense "is coming along. I've been in a system similar to this before, so I'm picking up on it pretty quick. And the guys around me, Steven and Tony Fisher, do a great job of kind of schooling me."

    Davis also is learning a new role after being a starter throughout most of his 11-year career. His approach and preparation remain the same, though.

    "You always have to have the same mind-set," he said, "because you never know when the opportunity is going to come."

    Ram-blings

    Tinoisamoa and tackle Orlando Pace (concussion) were the only Rams on Wednesday's injury report. Pace was listed as "doubtful." ... Jackson is the No. 3 rusher in the NFL, with 224 yards. ... Matt Turk's net punting average of 42.0 yards also ranks third in the league. ... The Rams are 6-4 vs. the Cardinals since moving to St. Louis in 1995. The teams split last year, both prevailing on the road.


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    Re: Rams Notebook: Tinoisamoa says injury won't keep him from playing

    Pisa is a warrior. Mad respect for him.

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