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Leonard Little's Knee Injury Gives St. Louis Rams A Scare

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  • Leonard Little's Knee Injury Gives St. Louis Rams A Scare

    Leonard Little's knee injury gives St. Louis Rams a scare


    What appeared Monday morning to be a major blow to the Rams' defense evolved into a relatively minor issue by the afternoon.

    End Leonard Little, one of the most impressive performers during training camp, crumpled to the ground with an injury to his right knee during nine-on-seven drills in the day's first of two practices.

    When he reached the sideline, Little slammed his helmet to the ground and booted a down marker in frustration. After team medical personnel examined him, Little tried to return to the action (the players were in full pads, but there was no live tackling).

    But after a few snaps, Little left again and watched the rest of the two-hour workout with his knee wrapped in ice. "We just wanted to shut him down and be careful," coach Steve Spagnuolo said.

    Chris Long moved from right end to Little's spot on the left side, and James Hall manned the right side. Victor Adeyanju also took some first-team reps at left end.

    The players were in shells (shorts and light shoulder pads) for the second practice. Little was among them, and he even was able to do limited work.

    Afterward, team officials said that the injury had been diagnosed as a sprain and that Little's status would be determined on a day-to-day basis.


    Defensive tackle Adam Carriker (ankle) and wide receivers Donnie Avery (foot) and Tim Carter (groin) did individual work. Carriker also participated briefly in team drills.

    "All that was just rehab, and then you shut them down," Spagnuolo said. "Right now, we're not ready to make any estimations of when they would be back."

    The Rams refused to make any of the three players available to reporters Monday.

    Quarterback Marc Bulger (finger), guard Jacob Bell (concussion), running back Kenneth Darby (knee) and wide receiver Brooks Foster (ankle) remain sidelined.


    Spagnuolo hinted that when he does return, Carriker — a starter since the Rams made him their first-round draft pick in 2007 — will have to contend with Gary Gibson for the first-team spot alongside Clifton Ryan.

    "I think Adam will have his work cut out for him, but he's a good football player," Spagnuolo said. "We'll let everybody battle it out and we'll see what happens by the time we get to Seattle" for the regular-season opener Sept. 13.

    Carriker was injured Aug. 7 in a scrimmage at Lindenwood.


    Kyle Boller, promoted to first-team quarterback after Bulger was hurt Aug. 17, said he's becoming more comfortable in his new role.

    "I'm doing good, just continuing to work with the guys, the receivers with the timing, getting comfortable with (center) Jason (Brown) and the offensive line — all the little things of just getting back into it," Boller said. "Each practice gets a little bit better."

    Boller, who started 42 games during six seasons in Baltimore, was signed as a free agent in the offseason. In Friday's 20-13 preseason loss to Atlanta, he completed nine of 16 passes for 91 yards, without an interception.

    The first-team offense hasn't produced a touchdown in two games, and Boller indicated that would be the unit's focus Thursday night in Cincinnati.

    "We've got to finish drives ... put the ball in the end zone and score points; that's how you win games," he said. "I think our guys are going to take this game very seriously. This is our next opportunity."


    The open practices during training camp drew 10,400 spectators to Rams Park. ... Wide receiver Nate Jones made two acrobatic catches, including a diving grab in the end zone, in 11-on-11 "team" drills. ... Adeyanju and rookie tackle Phil Trautwein scuffled briefly during one-on-one work. A few punches were thrown, but, as usual, no damage was done.

  • #2
    Re: Leonard Little's Knee Injury Gives St. Louis Rams A Scare

    Spagnuolo hinted that when he does return, Carriker — a starter since the Rams made him their first-round draft pick in 2007 — will have to contend with Gary Gibson for the first-team spot alongside Clifton Ryan.
    That can't be good news regarding Carriker's development. I think we're going to find out soon whether Carriker can be a solid contributor or if he's shaking up to be a bust.


    • #3
      Re: Leonard Little's Knee Injury Gives St. Louis Rams A Scare

      I can't say that I'm happy about all the injuries, but at least they're staying minor other than Foster's potentially year ending surgery. We should be 100% when it gets the the regular season hopefully.

      Weasel, I think that Spags is just letting Carriker, and the team, know that there's no free rides and especially since he's a line specialist, there'll be no free rides to starting on the line. I fully expect for AC to start week one, but you're right, it is a bit concerning, since he hasn't made any of the same comments in regards to Avery for example.

      Hope that Boller picks it up this week with Cincinnati. They're not exactly a big time defense, so if our offense is going to do anything, it better get in gear against them. I expect Jax to play at least a quarter or hopefully the entire first half, so that should help him out a bit, as obviously our depth at running back won't scare them much.
      I believe!:ram:


      • #4
        Re: Leonard Little's Knee Injury Gives St. Louis Rams A Scare

        We need Little, that great to hear he's ok.


        • #5
          Re: Leonard Little's Knee Injury Gives St. Louis Rams A Scare

          "I think our guys are going to take this game very seriously"
          Gosh .. that's good to hear. I'm going to call my bookie right now and bet the farm! Kind of makes me wonder though about how seriously the "guys" took last week's game ...


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          • RamFan_Til_I_Die
            Little is in new role ... St. Louis Rams' elder statesman
            by RamFan_Til_I_Die
            Little is in new role ... St. Louis Rams' elder statesman
            BY BILL COATS

            As reporters approached, Leonard Little requested that no one ask about his status as the oldest Rams player. He was kidding, and, of course, the subject came up.

            "It goes by fast … I never thought it was going to happen," said Little, 34. "But it is here, and I've got to lead the young guys as much as I can and try to bring them along."

            Little also has been with the team the longest — he's put in 11 seasons since the Rams selected him in the third round of the 1998 draft. He was a linebacker then and didn't crack the lineup until he was switched to defensive end in 2001.

            "What people don't realize, this is like my eighth year in the league because I didn't really play my first three years," he said. "So, I've still got the energy I've always had."

            The wear and tear is beginning to show, however.

            Little played in just seven games in 2007 before undergoing toe surgery. Last year, a hamstring injury suffered in the opener kept him out of two games and relegated him to a reserve role in a number of others, especially over the final six weeks.

            "The doctor told me not to do anything on it for eight weeks" after the season ended, Little said. "I started back running in March a little bit, and I gradually got back into it. … It's getting a whole lot better. I haven't really turned it all the way up, but I'm doing what I need to do."

            Little participated in all the drills during the three-day minicamp that wrapped up Sunday at Rams Park.

            Organized team activities (OTAs) begin May 19, when the team resumes its adjustment to new coach Steve Spagnuolo — who had been defensive coordinator of the New York Giants.

            "It's exciting for me because this is my first defensive head coach," Little said. "This defense is going to rely on the guys up front to put pressure on the quarterback. So, it really puts pressure on the front four to be great pass-rushers and get to the quarterback."

            That's a challenge that Little, the franchise leader in sacks (81), is eager to embrace.

            "It's built for the personnel," he said. "That allows us to play more aggressively than we have in the past."


            This was Spagnuolo's second minicampwith the team, but just the first with the Rams for quarterback Kyle Boller after signing as a free agent April 4.

            It also was his first chance to really test his right (throwing) shoulder, which was operated on in September.

            "The shoulder's great, a hundred percent," Boller reported. "It feels probably more strong than it did before, just having to do...
            -05-04-2009, 09:44 AM
          • eldfan
            Winless Rams having trouble with mistakes
            by eldfan
            By R.B. FALLSTROM
            AP Sports Writer

            ST. LOUIS — Marc Bulger is expected to start this week for
            the St. Louis Rams, whether or not backup Kyle Boller gets
            cleared from a mild concussion.

            Whoever’s taking the snaps on Sunday at Jacksonville, the larger
            problem is cutting down on the epidemic of mistakes that are
            dragging down a winless, rebuilding team that has little margin
            for error.

            The Rams (0-5) committed four turnovers in Sunday’s 38-10 loss
            to the Vikings, three of them inside the Minnesota 10, and have
            totaled 10 giveaways the last three weeks.

            “Right now I think that’s the only thing that’s separating us
            from winning games,” defensive end Leonard Little said Monday.
            “The mistakes we’ve been making, it’s something we’ve got to

            “We always correct them in practice but in the games it seems
            like everything falls apart for us.”

            Coach Steve Spagnuolo said at his weekly day-after news
            conference that it was “correction day.”

            Every Monday, it seems.

            “The ball slips out of your hand, you miss a routine handoff,
            those are tough things to explain,” Spagnuolo said. “We’ll hone
            in on them, get better at them and move on.”

            The Rams (0-5) had a 400-377 edge in total yards over unbeaten
            Minnesota (5-0) and rolled up 27 first downs. Boller and Bulger
            were a combined 27 for 38 for 297 yards with one touchdown and
            an interception, and the offensive line limited the dangerous
            Vikings pass rush to two sacks.

            The giveaways negated those numbers, in a big way.

            Jared Allen had a 52-yard fumble return for touchdown after the
            ball somehow slipped out of Boller’s hand as he dropped back for
            a screen pass. Boller and Steven Jackson didn’t connect on a
            handoff from the Vikings 1. Tight end Daniel Fells tried to back
            into the end zone after a catch and got stripped. Boller threw
            an interception in the end zone.

            That was more than enough to ensure the Rams’ 15th straight
            loss, the longest slump in the NFL. They’ve been outscored by a
            whopping 146-34 on the season.

            Jackson took the hit for the fumble, although it officially went
            to Boller.

            “It really hurt the team and our momentum, and I think after
            that we just snowballed downwards,” Jackson said. “We just have
            to get over this spell of turnovers.”

            Boller, starting for the second straight game in place of Bulger
            (shoulder), was injured early in the fourth quarter and will
            undergo testing Tuesday to determine his availability. Though
            Boller moved the offense, Spagnuolo said there’s no competition
            for the job and if Bulger’s OK he’ll be back as the starter.
            -10-13-2009, 10:46 AM
          • r8rh8rmike
            Gado Is Planning To Rebound/Camp Notes
            by r8rh8rmike
            Gado is planning to rebound
            BY BILL COATS

            Sunday's two-hour practice at Rams Park was beginning to wind down when defensive end Leonard Little apparently decided that he could fly. That's what it seemed like to Samkon Gado, anyway.

            During 11-on-11 "team" drills, Little came barreling in, and Gado moved into position to pass block. Suddenly, the 6-foot-3, 267-pound Little took off, literally attempting to hurdle the 5-10 running back en route to the quarterback.

            "It was pretty spectacular," said Gado, who rose up and caught Little in flight. "In a game, he would've jumped right over me."

            At 34, Little is the second-oldest among the 80 players on the roster. "I thought to myself, 'How does he have the energy to do this in his 12th season?'" Gado said. "He said he took his Geritol this morning and was feeling pretty good."

            Gado was feeling pretty good, too, after rushing for 93 yards, including a 77-yard touchdown run, Aug. 14 in the Rams' 23-20 preseason win over the New York Jets. That showing gave him a slight leg up in the three-man competition for the backup job behind Steven Jackson.

            But as Gado pointed out afterward, three preseason outings remained. And No. 2 was far less satisfying for him. He mustered just 5 yards on 12 carries Friday night in a 20-13 loss to Atlanta. He also lost a fumble at the Falcons' 15-yard line late in the first half.

            "It was tough all around," Gado said. "I made a few mistakes that I wish I could have back. But in the end, it's just the nature of the beast; you're going to have games like that.

            "You put that one behind you and you prepare and plan to do better the next game. Thankfully we have another one coming up" Thursday in Cincinnati.


            Although the regular-season opener is still three weeks away, training camp officially ended Sunday. That means that no more practices will be open to the public.

            About 500 spectators showed up Sunday, and they were rewarded afterward with free Rams merchandise. Also, the entire squad walked over to the railing to sign autographs.

            "I'd like to thank all the fans," rookie head coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "It's been 32 practices, and the people have come out to watch us. ... It really helps us, and we appreciate it. Looking forward, we appreciate all the support they'll give us."


            Injured defensive tackle Adam Carriker took another step in his recovery, participating in individual drills for the first time since he sprained his ankle Aug. 7 in a scrimmage at Lindenwood University.

            Wide receiver Donnie Avery, who broke a bone in his foot the same night, was supposed...
            -08-23-2009, 11:18 PM
          • RamWraith
            Little is prepared to make big impact
            by RamWraith
            By Jim Thomas
            Thursday, Jul. 31 2008

            MEQUON, WIS. — As injuries have mounted all around him during the first week of
            training camp, Leonard Little's surgically repaired toe hasn't flinched.

            Through nine practices over six days — with most of the work done on
            unforgiving artificial turf — Little says he has yet to need treatment on the
            toe. He feels a little soreness now and then, but that hasn't prevented him
            from going about his business from practice to practice at Concordia University
            Wisconsin as he prepares for his 11th NFL season.

            "I think Leonard looks just like he did two years ago," defensive coordinator
            Jim Haslett said. "I'm excited about it, because Leonard two years ago had 12½
            sacks, and we really never had a presence on the other side.

            "So now you add Chris (Long) to it and James (Hall) and get Victor (Adeyanju)
            back, and I think Leonard's going to have a great year."

            Little, who actually had 13 sacks two years ago, is planning on nothing less.
            Over a six-year period from 2001 to 2006, Little was one of the game's most
            feared pass-rushers, averaging 11 1/2 sacks per season. Then came the toe
            injury last season, robbing him of his quick get-off, and limiting him to only
            one sack before landing on the injured reserve list at midseason.

            At age 33, it looked like the injury might be career-threatening, but Little
            never viewed it that way.

            "I didn't ever think it was going to be an issue," Little said. "But everyone
            else did. I just had to rehab it, and do the things I needed to do to get back
            to 100 percent. I think it's real close to that right now."

            Little says his body always has responded well to surgery. In college at
            Tennessee, he recovered impressively from ACL and MCL surgery in his knee. As
            painful as the toe injury was last season, Little said he was confident surgery
            would make it right.

            "It's just a toe," he said. "It stopped me from being the explosive player that
            I normally was. But I know how my body reacts to stuff like this. I knew if I
            got it fixed, my body would react in a positive way."

            As early as the spring organized team activities in May and early June, Little
            said he felt he had his old quickness back. And that was even when the Rams'
            training staff was bringing him along slowly.

            So far in training camp, his practice reps have been limited to some extent,
            but he's still getting a lot of work.

            "I know what it takes to be successful," Little said. "Hopefully, I can stay
            injury-free and play like I did (before) or better."

            As he has progressed...
            -07-31-2008, 04:08 AM
          • MauiRam
            S Bassey facing knee surgery, is out for season
            by MauiRam
            08.09.2009 11:53 am
            By Bill Coats
            St. Louis Post-Dispatch

            The St. Louis Rams have experienced their first major injury of training camp. Safety Eric Bassey suffered a knee injury in Friday night’s scrimmage and will be placed on injured reserve, meaning that his season is over before it even got started. Bassey, who was hurt in a non-contact special-teams drill, will have surgery in about two weeks.

            A defensive back, as yet unidentified, will be brought in to replace Bassey on the roster.

            Another safety, Craig Dahl, went down with a hamstring injury in the scrimmage and sat out this morning’s practice. He’s day-to-day, according to coach Steve Spagnuolo.

            Spagnuolo said defensive tackle Adam Carrker likely will be out at least two weeks with the sprained ankle he suffered Friday. Also, wide receiver Donnie Avery has a sore foot that kept him out of practice. X-rays showed no fracture, but an MRI will be performed “just to make sure,” Spagnuolo said.

            Notes & quotes:

            *With Carriker out, Gary Gibson moved up to the first-team defense. Gibson was with Carolina the last two seasons, collecting 10 tackles in 12 games.

            *Rookie James Laurinaitis spent the entire practice with the first-team defense at middle linebacker, with Chris Draft moving over to strongside LB.

            *Keenan Burton and Laurent Robinson were the first-team WRs, with Avery on the sideline.

            *Spagnuolo ordered up just one period with live tackling, lasting about 15 plays.

            *CBs Justin King and Quincy Butler had interceptions in team drills. Butler continues to impress.

            *Rookie T Jason Smith provoked the ire of line coach Steve Loney when he committed a couple of miscues in one-on-one work.

            *This afternoon’s practice will be held at the indoor facility, which means it is closed to the public. It will be a one-hour special-teams session.

            All for now . . .
            -08-09-2009, 01:28 PM