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  • Rams' Avery Eyes Quick Return

    Rams' Avery eyes quick return
    BY JIM THOMAS
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    08/26/2009

    It was a two-touchdown day for Donnie Avery, albeit for the Rams' scout team Tuesday at Rams Park.

    "Hands still work. Feet still work," Avery reported, with a grin.

    The mere fact that he was running routes less than three weeks after suffering a stress fracture in his left foot rates as some of the best news of the preseason.

    "Like I tell my teammates, I run fast but I heal fast," Avery said.

    Avery was injured Aug. 7 during the Rams' scrimmage at Lindenwood University. "One of the 'DBs' landed on the back foot trying to make the tackle, and I got my foot caught up with his," Avery said.

    The original projection was a four- to six-week recovery, which at the worst would have sidelined him for two regular-season games. Now it looks as if Avery may be out for only four weeks — tops. He isn't expected to play Thursday in Cincinnati, and his availability remains uncertain for the Sept. 3 preseason finale against Kansas City.

    But as for the regular-season opener in Seattle — any doubt about playing there?

    "Zero doubt," Avery said. "I know I work hard. And I knew it wasn't going to take me four to six weeks. So it was just in my head that I was going to come back sooner."

    Avery has done a lot of running this week and looks as fast as ever, prompting jokes that the time off has prevented him from getting camp legs. His two TD catches Tuesday came during a red zone period.

    "It feels great," he said. "Right now, it's just a mental thing. I can't even feel it when I practice out there."

    Nonetheless, Avery has yet to be officially cleared to play in a game. When asked what must happen to get cleared, Avery replied, "Whatever the trainer says, and the dean says."

    The dean?

    "We call Spags the dean," Avery said. "He runs everything, so ..."

    So coach Steve Spagnuolo is now the dean of Rams Park.

    CARRIKER WORKS

    Defensive tackle Adam Carriker appears to be close to returning from a sprained left ankle, an injury he suffered in the Lindenwood scrimmage. On Tuesday, Carriker got a fair amount of work during 11-on-11 periods, even though it came with the third-string defense.

    Spagnuolo seems to be old-school on such matters, or perhaps he's trying to make a point that Carriker must work his way back into the starting lineup. Either way, Carriker — a first-round draft pick in 2007 — said he's OK with his current practice status. Gary Gibson, who started the first two preseason games in Carriker's absence, continues to work with the starting defense.

    "Gibby's been out there practicing with the '1s,' " Carriker said. "He's earned that right, right now. So I've got to start somewhere."

    It's the same ankle that bothered Carriker last year. At the Lindenwood scrimmage, Carriker said, "I was just taking on a block and it just gave out on me. I don't know if my cleat got stuck in the ground or exactly what happened."

    Carriker said it's just a matter of getting the ankle stronger before he's ready to play in games once again.

    LITTLE HAS SPRAIN

    Although he didn't take part in team periods Tuesday, Leonard Little participated in individual drills and seemed to be moving well. He tweaked his knee during practice Monday, but it turned out to be more scare than serious injury. According to Spagnuolo, an MRI showed that it was a sprain.

    "It's something we don't want to mess with," Spagnuolo said. "By that, I mean we don't want to throw him right back out there. But if you ask Leonard, he'd tell you if we were playing a regular-season game tomorrow, he'd go. That's him."

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  • r8rh8rmike
    Little Reports No Pain In Knee, Avery Catching TD Passes
    by r8rh8rmike
    08.25.2009 1:55 pm
    Little reports no pain in knee, Avery catching TD passes
    By Jim Thomas
    St. Louis Post-Dispatch



    Despite yesterday’s scare, St. Louis Rams defensive end Leonard Little reports no pain in his right knee. In fact coach Steve Spagnuolo said Little has been lobbying him to play in Thursday’s preseason game in Cincinnati. But parroting the head coach’s official description of his status, Little said he is “day-to-day.” In Tuesday’s practice, Little did individual work but was held out of “team” drills. An MRI exam showed Little merely had a sprained knee according to Spagnuolo.

    Meanwhile, wide receiver Donnie Avery took part in 11-on-11 drills in practice Tuesday, albeit as a member of the Rams’ scout team. Avery looked fast as ever, caught two touchdown passes in a red zone session, and told reporters it’s a certainty that he will play in the regular-season opener Sept. 13 in Seattle. Avery suffered a fractured foot in the Aug. 7 scrimmage at Lindenwood University.

    Defensive tackle Adam Carriker is close to returning from an ankle injury that also took place in the Lindenwood scrimmage. Carriker took a turn in 11-on-11 work Tuesday, albeit with the third-string defense. Carriker said it’s only a matter of strengthening the ankle before he’s ready to play.

    Little, Carriker and Avery are not expected to play against the Bengals.
    -08-25-2009, 07:07 PM
  • MauiRam
    Avery Back in Action ..
    by MauiRam
    Avery Back in Action

    By Nick Wagoner/Senior Writer

    After hauling in a pass late in Wednesday night’s practice, the cheers came up from the sideline as Donnie Avery hauled in yet another catch and turned up field to run.

    The cheers from the fans were common but the support from his teammates seemed to have a little something extra behind them.

    Avery made his return to the practice field on Wednesday, performed again on Thursday and on Saturday night against the Titans, is on schedule to play in his first preseason game in almost a full calendar year.

    In other words, it’s hard not to root for the soft spoken, humble Avery even if there is some good natured ribbing involved.

    “A couple of guys said ‘Oh, snap No. 17 is back from the dead,’” Avery said. “They kind of gave me crap coming out but it’s kind of nice to know they are rooting for me and on the same page as I am.”

    And why wouldn’t they be? The idea of a healthy Avery certainly brings an element to the offense that may not be there when he’s on the shelf.

    Known for his blazing speed, Avery has been on the sideline for almost a full year after suffering a devastating ACL injury in the third preseason game last year in New England.

    Avery spent the offseason training to get back up to speed, literally. He trained in Houston and did a lot of track work and says he clocked sub 4.3 40-yard dashes on a regular basis.

    Upon the start of camp, Avery was back on the field going full speed. Like with any knee surgery, though, the Rams and Avery had to dial back his work load, which has kept him out of the past week or so of practice and the first preseason game.

    “It was really more of a response, I think, to the surgery,” coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “Nothing uncommon. We just figured, why set him back? That’s why we kind of shut him down. And I think it was the right thing to do because I think he’ll start to surface now.”

    Avery has indeed surfaced and has stuck out for his play making skills just in the two practices since he’s been back. In Wednesday night’s practice, Avery made a series of catches deep, across the middle and outside the hashes.

    “I thought Donnie looked really good yesterday,” quarterback Sam Bradford said. “I thought he looked quick, I thought he looked fast, he made good decisions…Avery is another guy that will give us the opportunity to stretch the field with his speed.”
    Avery had no ill effects linger from Wednesday’s practice and made it through Thursday’s workout just fine. All signs point to him playing Saturday night against Tennessee.

    “It’s important to me because I haven’t been on the team, playing in a game in a year so I just need to get the ball in my hands and I think I’m explosive when it comes to making people miss and getting that YAC,” Avery said. “That’s...
    -08-19-2011, 01:14 AM
  • r8rh8rmike
    St. Louis Rams' Donnie Avery Works On Durability
    by r8rh8rmike
    St. Louis Rams' Donnie Avery works on durability
    BY BILL COATS
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    06/12/2010

    By trying to simultaneously give up meat and fried foods, Rams wide receiver Donnie Avery bit off more than he could chew. "I got burned out with it," he said. "So I cheat once a week and eat fried food."

    Still, Avery mostly is sticking to chicken and fish, with heavy helpings of fruits and vegetables. He's hoping that an improved diet, plus 10 pounds of muscle added in the weight room, will increase his durability.

    Nagging injuries — from a cracked hip to a stress fracture in his foot to a strained shoulder — hindered Avery during his first two seasons since the Rams made him the first wideout taken (second round, No. 33 overall) in the 2008 draft.

    Avery missed only one game, but he rarely was in top shape on Sundays.

    "It's frustrating, because you know you're not playing at a hundred percent," he said. "But at the same time you're still out there trying help the team as much as possible."

    After the '09 season, coach Steve Spagnuolo suggested that Avery try to bulk up a bit.

    "We talked about that before he left in January, that every time you catch the ball in the NFL, you've got to pop right back up and go in the huddle and make it look like nothing hurts," Spagnuolo said. "You've got to be durable, and one of the things about being durable is getting your body right. I think it's helping him.

    "Now, we don't know; we haven't hit anything yet. But hopefully that'll work out."

    For the organized team activities and the full-squad minicamp under way at Rams Park, the players aren't permitted to don pads, and contact is not allowed, per NFL rule.

    The 5-foot-11 Avery added 14 pounds, up to 198, but wasn't comfortable. "It's kind of trial and error," he said. "I felt a little bit sluggish, so I had to lose some of that weight. I feel good with the 10 right now that I put on."

    Avery's numbers slipped a bit last season from his rookie year. His receptions fell to 47 from 53 and his receiving yardage dipped to 589 from 674. "But my touchdowns went up last year" to five from three, he pointed out. "So that was a positive."

    So far, his spring workouts have been a positive, too. "It's going great," Avery said. "Second year in the (offensive) system, and I feel a lot more comfortable in it."

    Avery made a couple of acrobatic grabs at Friday's practice, which caught Spagnuolo's eye. "He looked really good today," Spagnuolo said. "I've been really happy with what Donnie's done. He'll tell you he's been inconsistent, because he's a pro and he wants to catch every ball. But I think he's doing a nice job."...
    -06-12-2010, 11:46 AM
  • eldfan
    Rams' Avery gets back up to speed
    by eldfan
    Rams' Avery gets back up to speed
    BY JIM THOMAS


    One of the criticisms of the Rams' draft was that they didn't select a speedster at wide receiver, someone who could stretch secondaries and keep defenses from ganging up on Steven Jackson.

    But a familiar and occasionally maligned name from the recent past, Donnie Avery, still could fill that bill.

    Avery says he's "a good 92-93 percent" recovered from surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. The injury, which occurred in the Rams' Aug. 26 preseason game in New England, cost him the entire 2010 season.

    For most of this lockout-marred offseason, Avery has been rehabbing and training in his hometown of Houston, working with a strength coach and a track coach.

    "Just trying to get back up to speed," he said. "Because you know with injuries like this, a lot of guys, they lose their quick-twitch muscles."

    And Avery has had more quick-twitch than all but a select few human beings. His speed has been his greatest asset.

    "Last week, I clocked a 4.34," Avery said after Wednesday's player-organized Rams practice at Lindenwood University.

    That's nearly one-tenth of a second off Avery's personal best in the 40-yard dash — 4.27 seconds — but still a sizzling time. Since he's not 100 percent healthy, the NFL lockout actually has been a positive for Avery.

    "It's been a great thing for me," Avery laughed. "I didn't want to miss OTAs, but the lockout is postponing them so it's given me more time to be healthy."

    In normal times, the Rams would be in the third week of the spring practices, also known as organized team activities, and Avery might have been tempted to rush back into action. But with the lockout he has been able to ease back in, minimizing the possibility of setbacks.

    He was part of the Houston workouts prior to the draft that involved Sam Bradford and many of the team's receivers, and is taking part in the Lindenwood sessions. But these workouts are shorter and more relaxed than minicamps, and Avery can go at his own pace.

    Besides working to get his knee right, Avery has changed his diet.

    "I slimmed down a little bit," Avery said. "I got up to 203 (pounds) but I didn't feel comfortable with it. So right now I'm like 190, 191. It's like 3.8 percent body fat. For dinner (Tuesday) night, I had 4.2 ounces of fish, 2.2 cups of brown rice, and a cup of green beans. So it's training right, eating a lot of proteins, and just working on my speed."

    With a new offensive coordinator in Josh McDaniels and a new scheme, the Rams drafted two wide receivers last month in Austin Pettis and Greg Salas. But Avery said he didn't have much of a reaction either way when the picks were made.
    ...
    -05-26-2011, 12:53 PM
  • Varg6
    Rams' Avery wants kickoff job
    by Varg6
    ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Donnie Avery wants to keep returning kickoffs for the St. Louis Rams besides playing wide receiver, despite fumbling the opening kickoff of the season.

    The gaffe set up the Seahawks at the Rams' 19 yard line, but the defense prevented a score with an interception in the end zone.
    Running back Samkon Gado returned the only other kickoff last week for St. Louis. Avery said he knew he had made a mistake and he found out about it Monday during evaluations.

    "Coach (Steve Spagnuolo) wrote on paper, 'spin equals fumble so don't spin,"' Avery said with a laugh.
    No official word has been given if Avery, who is in his second season, will return kickoffs in Sunday's game at Washington. He returned one kick in 2008 for 21 years. He also returned kickoffs in college at Houston.
    "If they call my name, I'll go in there," Avery said. "I wasn't surprised when they asked me to do last week. It's fun back there. If he puts me back there, he puts me back there."

    He said returning will not detract him from receiving duties. He pointed out Washington's Antwaan Randle El and Philadelphia's DeSean Jackson both return punts.

    But it's receiving where St. Louis and Spagnuolo want Avery to make his mark.
    The Rams' receiving corps led by Avery is short on experience. Seattle frequently put eight men up front to thwart the run, almost daring St. Louis to pass.

    Those types of defense will be common this season, running back Steven Jackson said.

    However, he predicts Avery, along with the other young receivers, will grow as the season progresses and force defenses to change their thinking.

    "Everyone comes along differently. Donnie had success last year in his rookie year, but in this league, guys don't go off one year. A lot of defensive coordinators want you to prove yourself over time," Jackson said. "I'm going to do my best to make sure they respect the running game and hopefully get some one-on-ones on the outside. Those guys are talented enough to take advantage of the one-on-ones."

    Spagnuolo said he believes Avery will benefit and prosper. Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur agreed.

    "I think Donnie's a hard worker. He's a smart football player and he understands how to play the game," Shurmur said. "All those things matched with his great ability are going to make him a great for a long time."
    Avery said the offense can get going and score points. The team must limit mistakes and penalties. Last week, the Rams were whistled for 10 penalties.



    NOTES: S Craig Dahl (hamstring) and G John Greco (wrist) are out for Sunday and will not make the trip. ... DT Leger Douzable was signed to the practice squad. Douzable spent the first week on the New York Giants' active roster. To make room for Douzable, LB K.C. Asiodu was release...
    -09-18-2009, 08:42 PM
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