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  • Rams Looking Into Injury Bug

    Rams Looking into Injury Bug
    Wednesday, January 6, 2010

    By Nick Wagoner
    Senior Writer

    To win in the NFL requires a lot of things working simultaneously in concert toward the achievement of the ultimate goal.

    Having the right players for the right scheme with the right coaches is a big part of that. But for as much as the big stuff matters, a certain amount of luck is always right at the center of the mix.

    Luck can be a bounce of the ball in your direction or a timely penalty flag from the officials. But more than anything, luck comes in the form of a blessing from the Football Gods; those unseen spirits that determine which teams get hit by injury and which teams have relative health.

    Rare is the team in the NFL that has success without having the majority of its key players healthy for the majority of the season.

    And for the better part of the past three years, the Rams have been ravaged by injuries that have severely lessened the already small margin for error between winning and losing.

    That’s why, as this offseason takes flight, one of the top priorities for the team will be to research and find out what it is that could be causing the injuries and to see if there are any way to prevent them other than prayer and positive thinking.

    “We are researching it right now,” coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “We have to look at them all to see how they happen. Some of them are freak, we all know that. We need to study it. You always need to, but I think each case you have to take on an individual basis because it is a physical game, it is a contact game. I don’t know how you prevent one big guy from falling on another guy’s leg. I don’t know how you prevent that, but we will look at it.”

    Ideally, the Rams would be able to find a solution for the injury bug that has seemingly made a home in St. Louis since the 2007 season.

    The last time the Rams were relatively healthy – injuries do happen all over the league – was in 2006.

    That year, the Rams only sent six players to injured reserve with only three of those players regular starters.

    It’s no coincidence that the team finished 8-8 that year, the best record the team has posted in the past four years.

    Since then, luck has seemed to turn against them.
    In 2007, the team placed 12 players on injured reserve including up to six starters and a total of 27 injured players missed 152 games because of injury.

    In 2008, another dozen went to injured reserve, four of whom were starters and again 27 players missed time for a total of 156 games missed.

    This year, the injury count was actually worse than those two apparently cursed seasons.
    By the end of the season, the Rams had put 13 players on injured reserve including up to nine starters if you include long snapper Chris Massey.

    And those numbers don’t even include players who missed large chunks of the season with injuries that could have landed on injured reserve such as Jason Smith, Quincy Butler, Leonard Little and Mark Setterstrom.

    Even in the season finale, when it appeared the team might make it out of a game without a serious injury, guard Roger Allen III suffered a torn ACL that will require surgery and surely would have landed him on injured reserve had the season continued.

    If that wasn’t enough bad luck, the Rams were hit by the flu bug so bad during the season that they actually had to cancel a Thursday practice.

    While the soft tissue injuries like hamstring pulls of recent years seemed to be at an all time low, it was the crushing, debilitating ailments that seemed to pile up.

    “What we can do?” general manager Billy Devaney said. “That’s going to be a big part of our evaluation. The strength department did a great job. Most of these things were unavoidable. They are joint injuries. We didn’t have many hamstring issues. That wasn’t the case at all. These were all serious types of injuries. When that happens, that is the football Gods looking ill on you, that’s bad breaks or what have you. There have been so many. It’s not just this year. There sure seems to be an inordinate amount of those types of injuries. So we have to go back, do a detailed study and just find out if there is any correlation to all this stuff.”

    On the bright side, many of the injured Rams appear to be on course for a return in 2010 with some back even in time for the start of the offseason conditioning program on March 15.

    Defensive tackle Adam Carriker (shoulder), receiver Laurent Robinson (foot) and guard Jacob Bell (hamstring/thumb) anticipate being back in time for the start of that program.

    Guard Mark Setterstrom, who has suffered a season-ending injury in each of the past three seasons, should also be OK sometime this summer and could be ready for organized team activities in the early summer.

    Some players are already working out and feeling good such as receiver Brooks Foster.

    If nothing else, the attrition suffered in 2009 provided some youngsters more opportunities in games that should serve them well in the future.
    “I think the biggest thing is you want to have solid backups at every position,” Bell said. “Late in the season, you look around the league and every team has injuries. It comes up to those guys to come in and perform well. There’s really no margin for error for those guys.”

    There’s no doubt that many of the best teams in the NFL don’t have to deal with injuries and the ones that do have players ready and capable of stepping right into a role and helping out.

    Although there might not be a miracle cure or way to avoid injuries, especially some of the freak incidents that occur in games, players already know that the thought of an injury can’t be on their minds when they are playing because that’s usually the fastest way to another injury.

    Carriker, for example, has been struggling with injuries the past two years but he knows that some things are just unavoidable and the best he can do is simply move on.

    “How do you avoid it? I don’t know how to avoid it,” Carriker said. “I mean injuries happen. I work hard in the weight room which is part of the frustrating part for me. How do I put it behind me? To be honest, when it comes to injuries, myself, I look at it as I work my tail off in the weight room, I work my tail off running, which I know I do. So when anything happens, I don’t know what more I could have done. So I don’t worry about it basically is what I am saying. As long as I work my tail off, which I know I am going to, I don’t worry about it.”

    Carriker, like the rest of the Rams, can only hope that their luck is about to turn.

Related Topics


  • r8rh8rmike
    The Body Count
    by r8rh8rmike
    The body count

    By Jim Thomas

    The Rams have been in a canyon-sized rut these last three seasons, with a 6-40 record since the start of 2007. Perhaps it's not surprising then, that the team is in an injury rut as well.

    All teams have injuries, but the Rams continue to have more than most. And try as they might under first-year head coach Steve Spagnuolo, they couldn't bring those numbers down this season. In fact, the basic numbers are strikingly similar in all three seasons, according to a Post-Dispatch analysis:

    — In 2007, the Rams had 12 players on injured reserve, had 27 players miss at least one game, and had players miss 152 games overall due to injury.

    — In 2008, it was 12 players on IR, 27 players out at least one game, and 156 games missed because of injury.

    — This season, it's 12 players on IR, 27 players out at least one game with injury, and 154 games missed with injury. The 2009 numbers will go up from there because the season's not over.

    The '09 Rams very easily could have 14 or 15 players on injured reserve because quarterback Marc Bulger (fractured shine bone) and offensive tackle Jason Smith (concussion) won't play again this season. They already have been ruled out for Sunday's game at Arizona. Cornerback Quincy Butler (ankle) also could be done for the season; he also has been ruled out of the Arizona game.

    "This has been a crazy year once again as far as injuries and infections and the flu bug going around," defensive end Leonard Little said.

    Speaking of which, Little will miss his second consecutive game Sunday because of a knee infection.

    "But as a football player, you can't worry about it," Little said. "You've just got to keep trying to win games."

    Easier said than done for a struggling team. Given their current talent base, it's hard enough for the Rams to win with a full roster. But when the injuries hit, it becomes double jeopardy because the Rams' depth isn't as good as that of more established teams.

    The injuries seem to come in bunches at certain positions. At wide receiver, for example, the Rams have three players on injured reserve: Laurent Robinson, Keenan Burton, and rookie Brooks Foster. On the defensive line, C.J. Ah You, Adam Carriker, and Gary Gibson all are done for the year. Carriker never even made it to the regular season, suffering a season-ending shoulder injury during the preseason.

    So far, only 16 Rams players have made it through every game this season. That total includes:

    — Wide receiver Donnie Avery, who has been in and out of several games with a variety of ailments.

    — Linebacker James Laurinaitis, who needed help from a teammate putting on his suit coat after the Tennessee game because of a shoulder...
    -12-25-2009, 11:33 PM
  • r8rh8rmike
    Rams Lucky Injuries Have Been Relatively Minor
    by r8rh8rmike
    Rams lucky injuries have been relatively minor

    by VanRam on Aug 19, 2009 1:17 PM CDT in 2009 preseason

    There's some good news on the injury front for the St. Louis Rams...good news for a change, huh, strange new feeling. Pardon me while I get used to it.

    You may have noticed PCarn's fanpost discussing the news about WR Donnie Avery and his desire for an early return. The boot is off his foot, but watch for the Rams to be extra cautious with their top receiver. A broken foot can slow a player, especially a receiver, even after his return.

    Via the Rams Twitter feed, Adam Carriker was running at practice today. The DT is recovering from an ankle injury and is expected to return next week.

    On the offensive line, Bell and Barron are both day-to-day. FB Mike Karney and S Craig Dahl are back in at practice and should play this week.

    Remember, the Rams have sustained freakish levels of injuries over the past three seasons. If you're playing the odds - and this is a much younger team - the meat wagon at Rams Park won't be as busy this year. The injuries to Bulger and Barron and Avery, etc. are concerning, but still kind of a dodged bullet, more easily chalked up to the pings and pangs of getting back into the game's physical grind, something no amount of offseason conditioning can account for.

    Some of these guys sitting out could probably play during the regular season, even Bulger said he would have tried to play with his pinkie if this were a regular season tilt. Be thankful the team is being cautious with their injured players.
    -08-19-2009, 03:54 PM
  • RamWraith
    Carriker's injury caps season
    by RamWraith
    By Jim Thomas

    Adam Carriker (center) receives praise from defensive line coach Brian Baker against Arizona on Sunday. Later, Carriker injured his shoulder; he will need surgery.
    (Chris Lee/P-D)

    In a cruel way, it was a fitting end to the Rams' 2007 season. En route to a 48-19 loss to Arizona, the Rams suffered yet another serious injury Sunday.

    Rookie defensive tackle Adam Carriker couldn't finish the game. He suffered a torn labrum muscle in his shoulder and will need surgery.

    "It's a significant injury; you're looking at sixth months," coach Scott Linehan said.

    With surgery scheduled for next week, Carriker probably won't be cleared for contact until mid-June, which means he will miss minicamp, organized team activities and at least some of the offseason conditioning program.

    "He's going to be pushed back into training camp," Linehan said. "He's never really had a major injury, so my guess is he would be back sooner than a lot of guys."

    Until the injury, Carriker had been a model of durability for the Rams in practices and games. Voted as the team's rookie of the year last week, Carriker suffered the injury late in the first half against the Cardinals. He kept playing for a while but eventually was removed from the game.

    "It's typical of these injuries," Linehan said. "You stick your arm out and a guy hits it funny."

    Linehan said the shoulder injury, despite its severity, is not career-threatening.

    "It's easily corrected, but it just takes so long for the rehab," Linehan said.

    Carriker isn't the only Rams player headed for surgery. Linehan said linebacker Brandon Chillar will join offensive lineman Todd Steussie in requiring surgery to remove bone spurs in his ankle.

    If there's a silver lining to Carriker's injury, at least it won't cause him to miss any games. That wasn't the case for many of his teammates this season.

    By season's end, the Rams had 12 players on the injured reserve list. Together, 27 players missed at least one full game because of injuries. Those 27 Rams missed a total of 152 games.

    No matter what you say about the performance of the Rams' coaching staff or their players, if you lose that many players — and that many games to injury — you're not going to have a winning season.

    "You can win more games than three," Linehan conceded. "But you're going to have a hell of a time getting to where you want to be. We're not the first team that's gone through a lot of injuries. But I'll tell you, I've personally never seen anything like it."

    The injuries hit the offensive line particularly hard. Four offensive linemen, including three starters, ended up on the season-ending...
    -01-02-2008, 06:47 AM
  • DieHardRamsFan1381
    rams need to stay healthy this year
    by DieHardRamsFan1381
    im noticing that the rams seem to have a problem with their players stayin healthy. it seems every year weve got a ton of player on the ir. is it that the player arent conditioning well enough or what. the last time the rams were really healthy was 2006. in that year only 6 players were on ir.since then its been a wreck every week someone goes down with a bad injury. someone tell me what could it be!
    -04-08-2010, 07:22 PM
  • RamWraith
    Two more starters headed for IR
    by RamWraith
    By Bill Coats 11/05/2007 4:48 pm

    Two more names are about to be added to the Rams’ bulging injured-reserve list. Guard Richie Incognito, hurt Oct. 28 against Cleveland, is scheduled for a knee operation Tuesday in Birmingham, Ala., and defensive end Leonard Little is facing toe surgery, likely sooner rather than later.

    “That really is the only option,” Little said Monday. “It isn’t the type of injury where it will heal on its own.”

    Little sat out vs. Browns, the first game he’d missed with an injury since 2003. He has a torn ligament in his left big toe, and he said Monday that if his season is finished, “it would be one of the hardest things I’ve been through in football in a long time. I’ve had injuries in the past, but I was always able to overcome them. This time it’s something that I can’t overcome.”

    A consultation with Dr. Robert Anderson, a specialist in Charlotte, N.C., during the bye week “didn’t go well,” Little reported. “We pretty much knew what he was going to say anyway. We tried to give it two weeks for it to heal back up, but it never responded.”

    A speed rusher, Little can’t be effective without his wheels. “I use my feet a lot; I made my career by running,” he said. “With this injury, I can’t run, I can’t push off and I can’t do the things that I normally do.”

    Even wearing shoes is a painful experience. “It hurts, period,” he said. “I’m not going to sit here and say that it doesn’t, because it does. I have to get it fixed; that’s the only way to make it any better.”

    Little said he’d be facing four to six months of rehab. “It’s a severe injury,” he said. “I don’t have a ligament on the side of my foot.”

    Already are on IR are tackle Orlando Pace (shoulder), guard Mark Setterstrom (knee), safety Jerome Carter (foot), linebacker Raonall Smith (knee) and guard/tackle Adam Goldberg (knee).


    It was a big night for football Friday at Peach County High in Fort Valley, Ga., Not only did the Trojans blast visiting Macon Southwest 57-14, but former star Randy McMichael was in attendance for a ceremony to retire his number 5.

    “I remember when the first jersey was retired from my high school, Greg Lloyd’s jersey my senior year,” said McMichael, the Rams’ tight end. “I said to myself that was the most awesome thing I’ve ever seen, and hopefully one day I’ll be blessed enough to have my jersey retired. My jersey’s right there with his now, and it’s a great feeling.”

    Lloyd, a hard-hitting linebacker, spent 11 seasons in the NFL – 10 with the Steelers and his last, in 1998, with the Panthers. He was selected for five Pro Bowls.

    On Saturday, McMichael was in Athens, Ga., watching his alma mater, the Georgia Bulldogs, knock off Troy 44-34. “It was a great week,” he said.


    Notes & quotes:

    -11-06-2007, 05:40 AM