Friday, September 22, 2006

By Nick Wagoner
Senior Writer

Although nothing has been decided yet, there is a lot more hope for left tackle Orlando Pace to play against Arizona on Sunday than there was earlier in the week.

Soon after participating fully in Friday’s practice, Pace was on his way to a local hospital for another round of testing as he continued to recover from a concussion suffered in last week’s loss to San Francisco.

But before leaving, Pace expressed some hope regarding his status for Sunday. He just wants to make sure that there isn’t any risk involved in playing.

“It is a fine line,” Pace said. “You have to be smart about it. Naturally, you want to be out there but you have to be smart. You don’t want to do anything that will set you back for a number of weeks so the doctors have been doing a great job with that. We’ll do some more tests in a couple of minutes and see how that goes.”

Pending the results of those tests, Pace seems much more likely to take his usual spot at left tackle against the Cardinals than he has at any point this week. Pace was hit when the Rams kicked an extra point last week against the *****.

On the play, the ***** rushed a number of players at Pace on the right side (he lines up there on special teams) and he was slammed to the ground.

Pace said this is the first concussion he has suffered in his career, a somewhat surprising statistic considering the nature of his position.

“It was kind of scary for me because when your vision is a little blurry and you can’t respond the way you want to respond it is frustrating,” Pace said. “It shocked me a little bit.”

Should he not be able to start against Arizona, it would be the first start Pace has missed since 2002 when he missed six games. Pace was listed as doubtful on the injury report earlier in the week, but he was upgraded to questionable Thursday, leaving some hope that he could return.

On Thursday, Pace participated on a limited basis in the practice and he took full part in Friday’s workout.

“We needed him to go through practice today, which he did,” coach Scott Linehan said. “He looked great. We are going to be cautiously optimistic until we find out the results of those tests which we have not gotten. So we have not made a final decision as to whether he is going to play or not.”

For now, the Rams and Pace are going to maintain that outlook and will wait as long as possible to make a decision.

“We’ll see how it goes,” Pace said

RAM BITS: Rookie Victor Adeyanju will start at defensive end in place of Anthony Hargrove on Sunday and Brandon Green will be active for the first time this season as a backup…Linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa received his new elbow brace Friday and Linehan said he likes it…Tinoisamoa is still listed as questionable for Sunday, but Linehan said he would be “very surprised” if Tinoisamoa didn’t play against the Cardinals.