Turley remains out of camp with bad back
By Bill Coats
Of the Post-Dispatch

MACOMB, Ill. - As Rams coach Mike Martz addressed a small group of reporters after Monday afternoon's practice, a cell phone went off.

"Kyle, is that you?" Martz asked.

He was joking, of course. Still, the training camp absence of first-team right tackle Kyle Turley has edged into its second week, and it's hardly a laughing matter. No determination has been made on how long he'll be away from Western Illinois University while having his back examined by a series of specialists.

Martz hasn't been able to reach Turley, but he indicated that Rams officials have spoken with Turley's agent, Tom Condon.

"Kyle's down in the dumps," Martz said. "This thing isn't as far along as he wants it to be, and he's very, very frustrated. ... I understand what Kyle is going through; I feel for the guy."

Turley, 28, had surgery in March to repair a herniated disc. He skipped the on-field work at minicamp in May, but participated fully when camp workouts began July 28. Within a few days, he experienced pain in the same spot of the original injury and he was forced to the sideline again.

Before he returned to St. Louis on Aug. 1, Turley acknowledged that he was concerned about his future in the NFL.

Turley has been examined by Rams physicians in St. Louis and by Dr. Robert Watkins in Los Angeles. He also is expected to see Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala.

Condon could not be reached to comment Monday.

"We've just got to get a conclusion medically in terms of a course of action he needs to take," Martz said. "Kyle's a guy that's played at an extremely high level his whole career, and now all of a sudden he's got something that's keeping him down. Guys as high-strung and competitive as Kyle is, that's hard to deal with. He'll be much better when he knows what the course of action is and he can focus on that."

Other absences

Three other Rams - center Dave Wohlabaugh, offensive tackle Jeremy Phillips and defensive end Kevin Aldridge - also were absent Monday.

Wohlabaugh, who started every game last season but has missed all of camp, is having further evaluations on his hip in St. Louis and in Ohio, where surgery was performed in March on a torn labrum.

Phillips, who has been troubled by stingers, returned to St. Louis to have his neck examined.

Martz said that Aldridge, a second-year player with a shot at making the 53-man roster, had been granted an indefinite leave to take care of "a very serious personal issue."

Back in business

Several Rams who had been nursing minor aches and pains were back on the field Monday after a 1 1/2-day break following Saturday's scrimmage with the Chicago Bears.

Returning to action were cornerbacks Jerametrius Butler and Travis Fisher; defensive ends Leonard Little, Anthony Hargrove, Sean Moran and Erik Flowers; linebacker Brandon Chillar; and safety Tom Knight.

"The first two weeks, we really went hard," Martz noted. "And now we're going to let them get back a little bit, have a good couple of days here and get ready to go play the Bears" on Thursday at the Edward Jones Dome in the exhibition opener.

Hargrove, the team's third-round draft pick, said the swelling in his knee and ankle that kept him out for several days was "a hard thing for me. ... I was miserable. I tweaked it a little bit again in one-on-ones (Monday), and they told me to sit out. But I couldn't - I really wanted to get in there and see what I could do."