By Cedric Williams
When the St. Louis Rams released their weekly Thursday evening injury report, there wasn’t excitement or consternation over any of the names on the list.
It’s the seventh week of the NFL season; every team is going to have a few players with at least a couple of bumps and bruises that warrant mentioning on the weekly injury report.
So on Thursday, there were no real surprises among the Rams injury report.
But there was a bit of excitement around the Rams Park training facility on Thursday, and all of it revolved around someone whose name wasn’t on the list. Or more precisely, whose name wasn’t on the injured list anymore.
Right tackle Rodger Saffold, whose been out of the lineup since injuring his knee in a Week 2 game against the Atlanta Falcons, has been practicing with the team since last week.
But it wasn’t until Thursday that the club saw fit to remove Saffold’s name from the injured list, with the full intention of letting him play on Sunday, when the Rams visit the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium in suburban Charlotte, N.C.
“We’re fired up that he’s back — he’s doing a good job — and we’ll see how the practice week goes,” Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said. “But again, whoever we put out there, they’re going to know the plan and they’re going to play it well.”
Both Saffold and his replacement, third-year veteran Joe Barksdale, have been working with the Rams first team offense this week.
And though no decision has been made on which player will start, Saffold believes he’s ready to do the job if given the chance.
“It’s my first week back with the offense. It’s tough, but I continue to see things getting better in the future,” Saffold said. “What I like to do is go out before practice and work on a couple of drills on my own, trying to get my steps right, to get my hands right. Once I can go out and prove my knee is working properly, I think (the coaches will) be more comfortable with me going in.
“Once they see that I can do the job effectively, on the game field, I think they’ll be more comfortable and understand I’m ready.”
Only two Rams didn’t practice at all on Thursday, cornerback Cortland Finnegan (thigh) and running back/kick returner Benny Cunningham (ankle). Both sat out with injuries that will likely keep them unavailable for Sunday’s noon kickoff.
New starting running back Zac Stacy (chest), left defensive end Chris Long (thigh), and special teams dynamo Daren Bates (hip) were all back on the practice field after sitting out on Wednesday. And all three should be ready to go on Sunday.
For Carolina, the list of injured players is also fairly short, with starters DE Dwan Edwards (hamstring) and TE Greg Olsen (foot) both seeing only limited work during Thursday’s practice.
Reserve CB Melvin White (concussion) was also limited in practice, while S Robert Lester (hamstring) and RB Kenjon Barner (foot) participated fully on Thursday, after sitting out on Wednesday.
St. Louis Rams Injury Report
- Cortland Finnegan—CB (Thigh)
- Zac Stacy—RB (Chest)
- Chris Long—DE (Thigh)
- Benny Cunningham—RB (Ankle)
- Daren Bates—LB (Hip)
Carolina Panthers Injury Report
- Dwan Edwards—DT (Hamstring)
- Greg OlsenvTE (Foot)
- D.J. Moore—CB (Knee)
- Melvin WhitevCB (Concussion)
- Robert Lester—S (Hamstring)
- Kenjon Barner—RB (Foot)
For more Rams news and updates, visit Rams Central.
Cedric Williams, a lifelong St. Louisan and proud UMSL alum, has been a freelance reporter/photographer covering St. Louis area sports for nearly two decades. Most recently, he has been working as a credentialed beat writer covering the Rams and small-school college sports for Examiner.com and other outlets from around the area. Please share any comments, questions, or feedback with Cedric at firstname.lastname@example.org. His work can be found on Examiner.com.