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  • Rams Get Back to Work

    Monday, August 9, 2004

    By NICK WAGONER
    Staff Writer

    With the return of the Rams to practice Monday afternoon, came the return of many of the injured players who missed valuable time in the past couple of weeks.

    St. Louis, which beat Chicago in a scrimmage 12-6 on Saturday, had Saturday evening and Sunday off. Most of the veterans went back to St. Louis to be with their families, while the rookie and first-year guys stayed in Macomb.

    The opportunity for rest couldn’t have come at a better time for a banged-up St. Louis squad that had as many as 13 missing members at one time. Most of the injuries didn’t heal in the day off, but they improved enough to see a number of the affected players come back.

    Coach Mike Martz said it was necessary to give his team the time it needed to recover. “It’s good to get them back out here,” Martz said. “The first two weeks we really went hard and now we need to get them back a little bit and have a good couple days and get ready to go play the Bears.”

    Monday’s practice was a light workout, with the players in shells (helmets, shoulder pads and shorts). The hardest work of the day came at the end of practice as each position spent time running sprints and doing conditioning work.

    Martz said the choice of outfits allowed many of the players to return when they couldn’t have in full pads. Among the Rams making their return to the field were Leonard Little, Travis Fisher, Jerametrius Butler, Robert Thomas and Anthony Hargrove.

    “By putting them in shells today we could get a lot of them back,” Martz said. “I’m very pleased with where this team is. They’ve got a great attitude…and I couldn’t ask for anything better.”

    MORE ON HARGROVE: The rookie defensive end, who had missed most of the past week with ankle and knee problems, returned and showed few ill effects.

    Hargrove was one of the camp’s early standouts showing the speed to blow past any tackle and the power to run them over. Hargrove pushed his injuries a little with his return, saying he tweaked the injury during one-on-one drills, but he refused to sit any more time and completed a couple rounds of sprints.

    Hargrove said it was difficult to watch his teammates practice; knowing an opportunity to play right away is at stake.
    “To be sidelined is a hard thing on me,” Hargrove said. “I’ve been working for this for a year now.”

    In a defensive line drill with a series of dummies, Hargrove proved to be at the head of the class again, despite his injuries. With four dummies lined up closely, line coach Bill Kollar challenged his players to see who could do it the quickest and strongest without falling on their face as some of the lineman had done earlier in the drill.

    Defensive tackle Bernard Holsey served as judge for the competition while he rested his knee. The drill was supposed to be Tyoka Jackson’s specialty, but after Jackson showed Hargrove what he had done wrong earlier in the drill, Hargrove took top honors.

    Hargrove said he was surprised he won, not only because the drill was Jackson’s forte, but also because he is a rookie.
    “He pulled me to the side and told me to use my hands in a different way and I did that and I beat him in his own drill,” Hargrove said. “We usually don’t win anything.”

    Jackson got his revenge immediately, though, as Hargrove wasn’t able to avoid pad-carrying duties, hauling Jackson’s No. 97 jersey and shoulder pads off the field.

    INJURY CHECK: While the news was mostly positive for St. Louis on the injury front, it wasn’t all good. Running back Lamar Gordon went back to St. Louis to have his ankle checked.

    Martz said the injury had been bothering Gordon for awhile and he will have surgery on the ankle. “They did a scan on him and they think there is a potentially slight bone chip in there,” Martz said. “He’s going to go in I think tomorrow. The good news is that none of us knew what was going on with him. It’s nice to have that resolved that this is what it is.”

    Joining Gordon on the trip to St. Louis were center Dave Wohlabaugh and tackle Jeremy Phillips. Wohlabaugh leaves Tuesday for Ohio, where he will see doctors and might have hip surgery. Phillips has battled stingers in his neck and is having it scanned.

    Defensive end Kevin Aldridge missed Monday’s workout for personal reasons. Adam Timmerman sat out the practice with soreness in his shoulder. Some of the sideline regulars were still unable to return. Robert Cromartie, Brandon Spoon and Cameron Cleeland stayed out with continued hamstring tightness. Brandon Chillar sat with a shoulder injury. Bryce Fisher, who sprained his left ankle in the scrimmage, participated in most drills.

    SEE YOU IN ST. LOUIS: The scrimmage served as the undercard to Thursday’s main event. The Bears travel to St. Louis for a preseason game that kicks off at 7 p.m. at the Edward Jones Dome. Unlike the scrimmage, most of the Rams’ star players will probably play, though their snaps will be limited
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