By Cedric Williams
The St. Louis Rams got some serious good news on Friday, when three projected starters — running back Zac Stacy, left guard Chris Williams, and cornerback Trumaine Johnson — all passed concussion injury tests and were cleared to practice on Friday.
The trio, who all suffered varying degrees of concussions during last Sunday’s game at the Edward Jones Dome against the Chicago Bears, were each held out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday, before getting the go-ahead to practice on Friday.
Stacy, the Rams’ No. 1 running back, who despite making just seven starts ranks second in the NFL among rookies with 624 rushing yards, was on his way to a tremendous day last week, with 87 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries in the first half when he took a blow to the head just before halftime that knocked him out of the game for the rest of the day.
Fellow rookie Benny Cunningham took over for Stacy in the backfield, and finished with his best rushing day of his career, going for 109 yards on 13 carries with a touchdown.
If Stacy was unable to go on Sunday, Cunningham would likely be the Rams choice to make the start.
Williams suffered his injury on a run play earlier in that second quarter.
Ironically, he was blocking for Stacy, when his head head struck the hip or possibly the knee of a Chicago defender making him the first of the three to leave the game early with a head injury.
The sixth-year veteran came to the Rams this season, after playing the previous five seasons with the Bears.
Williams had been splitting time at left guard with Shelley Smith, before winning the starting job earlier this season. Smith then began playing right guard for St. Louis when Opening Day starter Harvey Dahl was injured last month.
Former tackle Rodger Saffold has started the last two games in Dahl’s place, which made Smith the easy choice to replace Williams was he was knocked out of last week’s game.
If Williams can’t play on Sunday, Smith will likely be the choice to start instead.
Johnson’s injury looked the most serious, as he laid motionless on the Edward Jones Dome turf after making a tackle during the third quarter last week.
A cart was brought out to help Johnson off the field, but was eventually waved away, as Johnson walked off with help from the Rams training staff.
Rookie Brandon McGee took Johnson’s place last week, and is one of the candidates to start this week, if Johnson can’t go.
But that plan was put on hold, at least until Sunday, as McGee suffered a foot injury during Thursday’s practice and has been listed as questionable to play himself on Sunday.
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 email@example.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com.