Rams returning to health ...
Rams Returning to Health
Thursday, October 18, 2007
By Nick Wagoner
For as disappointing as the plethora of injuries has been for the Rams, the possibility of good health has lingered as a potential positive.
And for the first time this season, the Rams are apparently getting healthy. In Thursday’s practice, returner/receiver Dante Hall was the only Ram on the roster not dressed in full practice gear.
“It’s very encouraging,” coach Scott Linehan said. “We talked about it as a team. We’re adding players back here slowly, but surely. We’ve been needing a boost on offense. Having players in uniform whether they’re limited or not, back out there shows signs that there is going to be a lot of improvement as far as our potential to get better.”
Considering the Rams have had 17 players lost to injury combining for 43 missed games, it was bound to happen that a return to health would happen. But for some unlucky reason, it seems every time the Rams get one player back, two more get hurt.
Witness last week when the Rams got cornerback Tye Hill back in the lineup and watched as center Brett Romberg and receiver Drew Bennett left the game without a return.
But even those players seem to be fighting through the pain and working their way on to the practice field.
As many as seven players whom either didn’t practice last week or weren’t expected to work this week participated in some capacity during Thursday’s workout.
The return of key players such as quarterback Marc Bulger (ribs), receiver Isaac Bruce (hamstring) and safety Corey Chavous (pectoral) was particularly encouraging for a Rams team in need of a boost any way in can get one.
“It was nice to see,” receiver Dane Looker said. “You never want to use the excuse, but we have been pretty much decimated by injuries this year. The backups can’t be backups; they have to be starters waiting to play. Guys have to fill in those big shoes.”
Bulger, Bruce and Chavous all seem poised to reclaim their starting roles this week as they continue to go through full practices with little to no problems. For his part, Bulger says he feels better after a two week layoff and is not experiencing a lot of the pain that made his job so difficult earlier in the season.
“They definitely feel better than they did a couple weeks ago,” Bulger said. “I really didn’t think it was affecting my throwing too much before, but the discomforts gone now.”
The return of that trio of captains hasn’t been the only encouraging news this week. Running back Steven Jackson appears closer to a return.
Although a return this week against Seattle is a long shot, Jackson has been working in a limited basis during practice and has worn the red no contact jersey and participated in individual drills in each of the two practices this week.
Linehan says Jackson’s return is in the offing as it appears his groin injury is almost completely healed. Linehan believes Jackson probably won’t need any more MRIs, but wants to be cautious with his star running back.
“He’s a great, prideful competitor,” Linehan said. “It’s been killing him not to be out there. He’s been very, very positive in the huddle and on the sideline. He’s been a very good influence. When you are injured it’s pretty easy to sit back, move to the back of the room or get displaced. He’s been right out there and has been very helpful with Brian (Leonard). He’s shown some very good leadership qualities that way. I’ve talked to him and he’s eager to get back out there.”
While Looker’s return won’t come with as much notoriety as the likes of Bruce and Bulger, it should considering how much he has gone through in the past few weeks.
Looker injured his thigh diving to make a play on special teams on Sept. 30 against Dallas. That led to swelling in his thigh that was so severe that he was unable to make the flight home.
By the time he returned to St. Louis, Looker’s outlook didn’t look promising. But Looker surprised his teammates and coaches by getting on the field Wednesday and practiced again Thursday.
It remains to be seen whether Looker will be active this week as he hasn’t even done the holding on kicks, but his return has provided a little spark according to Linehan.
“I go back with Dane a long way, he’s one of those guys – I think he’s one of those guys we need,” Linehan said. “Not guys that play hurt, certainly we don’t need guys who are putting themselves in harms way. We wouldn’t allow that, but Dane’s one of those guys who played with a severe injury because he knew we needed him. We didn’t know how severe it was at the time, nor did he. He played in Dallas because he felt there was no other option. Smart or not, we certainly don’t want him to get hurt or get it more damaged in there. I don’t think we knew the extent – a very rare injury. The fact that he’s fighting to get back on the field is very inspiring to me.”
Thursday brought about even more promising possibilities. Romberg, who suffered a sprained ankle against Baltimore last week, was dressed and practiced in most of Thursday’s workout. He even did work in team drills and said he will play and start this week against Seattle.
Likewise, Bennett was also fully dressed though his participation was more limited beyond individual work.
It’s been a long time since the Rams could say that and it’s spreading enthusiasm and optimism throughout Russell Training Center.
“I have been on a lot of teams and this team has as good of a work ethic as any of them,” Chavous said. “One thing I have always said is nobody is going to feel sorry for me because you have a lot of injuries. So you have to approach each week as a chance for you to win a football game and a chance for the other team to lose one. That’s the way you have got to go about your business.”
Re: Rams returning to health ...
Ooh, I like the sound of this. We HAVE to get healthy very soon, to save our selves just a tad of dignity. God I hate injuries! I really believe that if it wasn't for all these key injuries, we would have had a pretty good season, but, alas, it's part of the game and the staff around the team has to be able to work through/around the problems that appear during a season and make the best of it. The jury is out wether or not that has been the case, and rightfully so, but injuries and bad luck/bad officiating (spelling?) are of course difficult to battle...
Now go win this one in Seattle!!!
Re: Rams returning to health ...
Yea, it definitely seems like the team has quit on Linehan, given that all these players, many who are still injured, are fighting through the pain and getting back onto the practice field ...
That Romberg for sure, he's definitely a quitter, playing through the sore ankle ...
And Bennett, the huge "bust", is more of a quitter, working on the bad hammy ...
Yep, I sense it, they've quit. All of you out there claiming we are an embarrassment and a bunch of quitters are right ...
They've hung it up for the year! 0-16 here we come! 1st pick in the draft! Wooo hooo!