By Cedric Williams
The injury news along the St. Louis Rams offensive line keeps getting better and better.
First, right guard and emotional leader Harvey Dahl, a player whose been out of the lineup since October, returned to practice on Wednesday and participated fully, leaving open the strong possibility that he may be able to play Sunday when the Rams travel to Arizona.
Then on Thursday, left tackle Jake Long, who suffered a concussion in last Sunday’s loss to San Francisco, passed another hurdle along the concussion injury protocol and was able to practice with the team on Thursday.
Long didn’t participated fully and was held out of several drills, but just last week, the Rams had three players follow the same formula of sitting out early, practicing in a limited capacity on Thursday, and then practicing fully on Friday and Saturday, before clearing them to play on Sunday.
Head coach Jeff Fisher said that if Long feels good on Friday, he will practice and would be on track to play on Sunday.
“He’s pushing through the (concussion) protocol, and doing fine,” Fisher said.
Dahl injured his knee in the Rams Week 8 loss to Seattle on October 28, and was feared done for the season.
But the seventh-year man out of Nevada-Reno has worked tirelessly to get himself back in the Ram lineup, and after practicing fully on Wednesday and Thursday, looks like a sure bet to dress and play on Sunday.
Tackle-by-trade Rodger Saffold has started the last two games at right guard for St. Louis, and has played very well. So he might still be in line to start there for the Rams again.
If Long can’t go though, Saffold would probably start at left tackle, which would leave no doubt as to whether Dahl would get the start at right guard.
“Harvey brings an attitude and a toughness that we really appreciate about him,” quarterback Kellen Clemens said. “Obviously, he’s a veteran guy with a lot of experience, but he plays the position with a mindset that, especially as a quarterback, you really appreciate. You go back to when Sam got hurt, Harvey was going to hurt somebody – and we’re glad that he didn’t – but you appreciate that mindset, as a quarterback, in an offensive lineman.”
One spot along the Rams offensive line that will definitely be manned by a new face is at center, where starter Scott Wells is out—probably for the rest of the season—which means second-year pro Tim Barnes, a University of Missouri product, will make his first start on Sunday.
“Tim’s done a great job,” Fisher said. “Last year in the preseason when he got a chance to play, he played well. You see the skillset, and he’s dedicated, he’s a pro, he prepares. He’s ready to go, so Tim will be fine.”
ST. LOUIS RAMS Injury Report
Player ………………. Pos … Injury
- Scott Wells ………..C ….. Broken Fibula
- Harvey Dahl ……… OG …Knee
- Jake Long ………….OT ….Concussion
- Daren Bates ……….LB ….Concussion
- Brandon McGee … CB ….Foot
- Eugene Sims …….. DE ….Neck
ARIZONA CARDINALS Injury Report
- Player ……………….Pos …Injury
- Carson Palmer …… QB ….Elbow
- Andre Ellington ….. RB …..Knee
- Michael Floyd ……. WR ….Ankle
- Marcus Bernard …. LB …. Shoulder
- Jim Dray ……………TE …. Back
- Rob Housler ……… TE …. Ankle
- Kevin Minter ……… LB ….Shoulder
- Dave Zastudil ……..P ….. Ankle
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.