Maybe the most surprising happening at Rams practice Wednesday wasn’t who was absent, but rather who was present at practice.
Just three days after being carted off the field on a stretcher, left tackle Rodger Saffold returned to practice with his team. Though it was on a very limited basis, it was still an unexpected and promising sight.
“It’s definitely a blessing to be able to be out on the field with the guys,” Saffold said after practice Wednesday. “I think a lot of the work that I put in off the field helped me sustain the injury without making it any worse.”
The play on which Saffold was injured happened midway through the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game in Detroit. It looked harmless enough at the time, but Saffold’s head hit the back of a Lions defender and the big lineman fell immediately to the turf.
“Basically I was just trying to finish a play,” Saffold said. “A wacky thing happened, had a defensive lineman falling backwards and I collided with his back and pushed my head down a little too far.”
Although Saffold said he was responsive and was able to move all his extremities, he was strapped down and carted off as a precaution. Saffold said the injury is day-to-day, with Rams head coach Jeff Fisher reiterating that Saffold was limited at practice. It remains to be seen how limited Saffold is in the days ahead.
It’s the latest injury in a rough 10 months for Saffold. After starting all 16 games his rookie year, Saffold started just nine last in 2011 before a torn pectoral muscle ended his season. Saffold said he’s trying not to get discouraged with his recent string of bad luck.
“It’s definitely frustrating, but I know that it’s part of the game,” Saffold said. “I’ve been trying to stay positive throughout the entire experience so I can get back on the field and work with my teammates.”
Other notes from practice:
-Michael Brockers (ankle), Matt conrath (knee) and Rokevious Watkins (ankle) did not practice. Defensive tackle Darell Scott (knee) was limited in practice along with Saffold.
-Newly re-signed offensive lineman Quinn Ojinnaka was practicing with the team. Ojinnaka started games for the Rams in the preseason but was cut during the roster reshuffling after teams cut down to their 53-man rosters. Fisher talked about having to cut Ojinnaka:
“It was not easy. When you’re making tough cuts like that, when you try to get to 53 (-man roster), that implies that maybe you’ve gotten a little better. We’re just fortunate that he was still out there. He comes back, he understands the system and we can plug him right in.”
No word yet Sunday’s starters at offensive line, with Fisher saying simply the team will have five guys ready to go by Sunday.