By Jim Thomas
Post-Dispatch Jefferson City Bureau
Wednesday, Aug. 03 2005

In more than 30 years of coaching football, John Matsko never has seen a player
experience as much medically as Adam Timmerman last offseason.

"He'll be ready for five more years with all the repairs he got," said Matsko,
who's in his seventh season as a Rams offensive-line coach. "He got a tune-up."

Actually, it was more like a 100,000-mile overhaul.

"Yeah, it seemed like the tranny wasn't any good, the oil needed to be changed,
everything," Timmerman said. "I went, like, 10 years without any problems."

In 10 NFL seasons, Timmerman has played in four Super Bowls and two Pro Bowls.
Including playoff games, he has appeared in 162 consecutive games.

All that football seemed to catch up with Timmerman last season, resulting in
foot and shoulder surgeries plus a knee injury that did not require surgery.
Here's the rundown:

Timmerman has had shoulder problems for some time and
considered surgery following the 2003 season.

"It was starting to bug me in the (2003-04) offseason, just lifting and stuff
like that," Timmerman said. "We just kind of put it off. ... But last year, I
definitely knew I had to do it because it was just killing me."

He needed three pain-killing cortisone shots in each shoulder to help him
through the 2004 season.

Late in the 2004 season, Timmerman began experiencing pain in the
top of his right foot. An MRI in late December revealed a stress fracture.

At about the same time the foot injury was diagnosed,
Timmerman "tweaked" his left knee, resulting in torn cartilage.

So, by the end of the season, Timmerman was an injury or two short of being
declared a Red Cross disaster area.

"The last game against Atlanta, I was probably on as many pain killers as I
could have been on," Timmerman said. "I said, 'Doc, I need a few more.' He
said, 'I can't give you any more. You're done.' "

So, 2 1/2 weeks following the Rams' 47-17 playoff loss to the Falcons,
Timmerman began his offseason overhaul. On Feb. 1, he had foot surgery. On Feb.
18, he had calcium deposits cleaned out of both shoulders. As for the knee,
Timmerman decided against surgery after consulting with doctors.

It all made for an interesting - and uncomfortable - offseason.

"Thank God my wife was willing to wait on me," Timmerman said. "She's got her
nursing degree, so she could nurse me back to health. At first she was like,
'Am I going to be waiting on you the whole time?' "

Timmerman got around on crutches following foot surgery but couldn't use
crutches once he had both shoulders worked on.

"So, I was on this little 'roll-about' thing," Timmerman said. "It's kind of
like a scooter for your one leg, and I just pushed along with my other leg. It
was pretty brutal."

Whenever Timmerman left the house, he got some strange looks.

"A lot of people were like, 'Where did you get that thing? Why aren't you just
on crutches?' " Timmerman said. "I have newfound respect for handicapped
people. For me to get parked out in a parking lot, hop around to get my
roll-about out, unfold it, and go into the building, it was challenging."

Timmerman has been back on his feet for a while, but the Rams are purposely
easing him back into football. In training camp, Timmerman basically has been
held out of morning practices, when the team works in full pads. He gets a
steady dose of work in the lighter afternoon practices, when the team is in
"shells" (light padding) and contact is at a minimum.

"We're in absolutely no hurry with this thing at all," coach Mike Martz said.
"We all know what Adam's going to do. Know what he's capable of.

"In the afternoon, he gets all of his work in shells. I couldn't be more
excited about that, because he's not standing on the sideline watching. He can
go through the plays at a pretty brisk pace without the collisions. The
collision part of it, it doesn't take much time for a veteran like him to get
ready to go."

Martz hopes to have Timmerman play in either the Rams' third preseason game
Aug. 29 in Detroit, or the preseason finale Sept. 2 against Kansas City.

Barring any setback, that should be enough to get Timmerman ready for season
No. 11. He's still experiencing some foot and knee soreness.

"He's a proven football player, but we've got to get the rust knocked off him,"
Matsko said. "He's got an endurance and conditioning issue, so he's got to
really get into playing shape. But then, at the end of training camp, he's got
to get into contact shape."

And hope that everything holds up by then.