WR Danario Alexander brings deep threat to Rams

Sep 23, 4:41 am EDT


ST. LOUIS (AP)—Danario Alexander has undergone five operations on his left knee and it hasn’t seemed to slow him down at all.

The St. Louis Rams wide receiver was inactive for the season opener but came roaring back Monday night against the New York Giants. On his first catch of the season, Alexander made a leaping grab and sprinted 68 yards to the 1-yard line— the longest completion in young quarterback Sam Bradford’s career.

It showed why the Rams (0-2) kept Alexander after training camp and released second-round pick Donnie Avery(notes). Alexander also caught a 19-yard touchdown pass and finished with three catches for 122 yards, the biggest day in his two-year career.

Alexander, listed at 6-foot-5, 215-pounds, said Thursday that he feels fine. He has to manage his knee, but he is hoping for more playing time Sunday at home against Baltimore (1-1).

“Yeah, I would love to be out there for more plays,” said Alexander. “I’ll just keep pushing forward. I don’t have any pain. I manage it and the coaches are always watching. I want to stay fresh for the game.”

Alexander has earned more playing time, offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said.

“Danario had a great game and he’s had a good week in practice,” McDaniels said. “He’s earned the right to be out there more certainly. We’re excited about what he can do.”

Coach Steve Spagnuolo acknowledged Alexander brings a different dimension to the offense.

“He’s a big-play guy, a big, tall receiver,” Spagnuolo said. “I think Sam likes throwing to him. He’s done some productive things. We’ll get him in there more and more. We all know what he’s battling.

“I watch him all day. It’s amazing what he does from a physical standpoint with the injury he has. He’ll never tell you he has anything wrong but he does have to manage it.”

Alexander was cut just before the season opener in August 2010 while still rehabbing from a knee operation, then re-signed to the practice squad. He was activated after Mark Clayton’s season-ending knee injury.

He was not drafted out of Missouri after injuring the knee before the Senior Bowl, and his first NFL season was interrupted by that fifth operation.

“I do have cartilage left,” Alexander said. “It’s not really grinding but I do have to manage it.”

The Rams limit his time in practice so he’ll be available in games. During games, Alexander is monitored.

“We try to only give him a certain amount of snaps during the week,” Spagnuolo said. “I think you need to do right by your players, too. I don’t want to wear somebody out and all of a sudden not have them be able to do anything three weeks from now.

“It’s not that easy, but I’ll tell you again, I go back to Danario, who I give a lot of credit to. He fights through all of this. He wants to go. He’s a competitor and we like that about him.”

Alexander says he spends a lot of time in the training room to stay on top of his balky knee.

“I can play as much as I want; it’s just what they want,” Alexander said. “If it was up to me, I’d play every play, every game. I still have to manage it, though. There’s still an issue there that I do have to manage and I’m just taking care of it.”