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Jackson Making Progress

Posted Oct 7, 2010

Steven Jackson has been able to rest a little easier this week as he continues to progress back to health from a strained groin.

Now almost two weeks removed from the injury suffered in the Sept. 26 win against Washington, Jackson is edging closer to being back to full strength.

That means after spending all of last week working tirelessly just to be well enough to play against Seattle – including 4 a.m. sessions with the electro muscle stimulation machine – Jackson has made extensive progress.

“No more (stim machine) thank God,” Jackson said, laughing. “That was a long week.”

Indeed, it was a week so long that most outside observers didn’t think there was much chance Jackson would even dress for the game. Beyond that, even the optimistic observers felt like if he played it would be a limited role and he wouldn’t get many touches.

Instead, Jackson did all of the rehab work and ended up taking on a full work load with 25 touches in a win against the Seahawks.

This week, Jackson has been able to spend less time focused on rehab and more time focused on football.

“(His workload) was up a little from yesterday,” coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “We are still not full bore with what he’s doing because we don’t want to set it back but he seems to be OK.”

On Thursday, Jackson had what he calls his most productive practice since before the injury though he insists that he and the Rams are taking necessary precautions to ensure he doesn’t injure the groin further.

“I am still getting acupuncture, still taking things easy,” Jackson said. “But today in practice I did more than I have in the last two weeks so the injury is progressively getting better. I feel pretty good.”

So while there doesn’t appear to be any doubt about whether Jackson will play this week, what remains to be seen is if he’ll be able to cut it loose at full speed.

Jackson says that’s hard to do considering the extra padding and protection he began wearing last week. Included in that extra gear is a harness of sorts that is intended to keep Jackson from overstriding or pushing himself too far.

For at least this week, it appears Jackson will have to wear that extra gear again.
“Actually, I hate having different layers,” Jackson said. “I don’t like feeling uneven on one side or another. The leg contraption only goes on the right side of my leg so I feel uneven and I don’t like that. I am pretty sure I will have to wear it again on Sunday to make everyone at ease with the injury but as soon as I get the OK to take it off, I’m going to take it off.”

Barring a setback, that appears like it will happen sooner than later. 

ALEXANDER’S PROGRESS: Practice squad receiver Danario Alexander is slowly but surely making progress toward getting back to full speed.

The Rams signed Alexander little more than a week before the final cuts and then placed him on the practice squad after the final round of cuts.

Because Alexander had not yet fully recovered from his fourth knee surgery, the Rams wanted to take a patient approach with his rehabilitation and not force him into anything too strenuous until he was able to strengthen the knee back to normal levels.

That atrophy in his leg has been going away in recent weeks and Alexander is starting to regain some of his burst and strength.

Spagnuolo said he and Alexander are constantly monitoring and measuring his legs to get them back to the same size (a sign that the atrophy has gone).

“Him and I have a little game going on,” Spagnuolo said. “We measure his thigh to make sure they’re both the same size and he’s always giving me one more centimeter or half-centimeter.  I asked him if he knew what a centimeter was and he assured me he did.  He’s moving around well, we just want to make sure if we were to do anything – I’m not saying we would – that you don’t put him in a position where he’s going to injure something else.”

According to Spagnuolo, Alexander is indeed making progress in that recovery though there is still no timetable for him to be back to full strength or even for a potential promotion to the active roster.

 “Yeah, I don’t know exactly what it is right now, but he’s getting close,” Spagnuolo said. “He assured me he’s getting close.”

SAFFOLD’S SURGE: While quarterback Sam Bradford is getting plenty of attention for his performance in the first four weeks, he made it a point on Wednesday to recognize the work of another extremely effective rookie.

You probably haven’t heard Rodger Saffold’s name a whole lot in this first month but for a left tackle, that’s a good thing.

“I think Rodger’s played awesome for us the first four games,” Bradford said. “He does a great job any time he’s one-on-one with someone. I feel very comfortable with him on my backside. I think if you watch him, watch the way that he’s developed, he’s had some nasty blocks out there. I think he’s having fun, too.”
Bradford recalled one specific moment from last week’s game against Seattle in which Saffold showed the type of toughness and will that can rub off on his teammates. 

“I remember,  it kind of got me fired up last week, him and I think (Seattle safety) Lawyer Milloy were getting into it and his helmet comes off, and Rodger starts beating his chest,” Bradford said. “You see things like that from guys, it makes me confident in them, and really puts a smile on my face. I’m glad to have them in the huddle with me.”

DRAFT RECALL: It seems like a distant memory now but in the buildup to last April’s draft, many in St. Louis debated the merits of drafting Bradford versus defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

This week, the Rams will get an up close look at Suh, who was drafted one spot behind Bradford by the Lions.

Both rookies have made an immediate impact but in retrospect, the decision was never really that close.

This week, neither Bradford nor Suh showed much interest in discussing the way those picks were made. Rather, both players remain focused simply on doing their respective jobs.

“When you watch him on tape he’s extremely strong,” Bradford said. “It looks like he’s kind of been able to kind of have his way with some of the guys on the inside. So we’re definitely going to have to be aware of where he’s at, how he’s going to push the pocket.”

In a conference call with St. Louis media on Wednesday, Suh said his focus will be on getting after Bradford but not for any other reason than that’s the biggest part of his job description.

“Without a doubt, looking forward to have an opportunity to get after him as I want to do every single quarterback,” Suh said. “Not necessarily because he was taken over me in the 2010 draft. That means nothing to me. It’s the simple fact that he’s an opposing quarterback that I’m going against, and I want to get after any and all quarterbacks that I’m going against.”

INJURY REPORT: The Rams had little to no change on their injury report Thursday after starting to get some bodies back on Wednesday.

In addition to Jackson, safety Oshiomogho Atogwe is no longer even listed on the injury report. He is ready to go.

Saffold was hit on his left shin in Wednesday’s practice and was unable to complete the workout. But he returned to the practice field Thursday and is expected to be good to go.

Cornerback Justin King aggravated a calf injury and was limited. Defensive tackle Gary Gibson (shoulder) returned to the practice field.

Tight ends Michael Hoomanawanui and Billy Bajema, safety Darian Stewart and receiver Laurent Robinson all practiced again in some capacity. Robinson was again full participation and Stewart joined him in that designation. Hoomanawanui and Bajema were limited.

Linebacker Chris Chamberlain practiced Wednesday but was held out Thursday after pushing his injured foot yesterday.

Defensive tackle Darell Scott (ankle), defensive tackle Clifton Ryan (migraines), cornerback Kevin Dockery (hamstring) were the only players not to participate. Punter Donnie Jones (calf) was limited.

Ryan did not practice Thursday but did attend the workout and said afterward that barring a setback, he should be back on the practice field Friday. He was unsure if he'd be able to play against the Lions in his home state but he held out hope for the possibility.

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