By Cedric Williams
Rams defensive end and defensive team captain Chris Long continues to progress in his hope to return from a serious foot injury that has sidelined him since Week 1.
St. Louis placed the seventh year veteran out of Virginia on the injured reserve/designated for return list after he tore two tendons in his left foot during the Rams’ season opener against the Minnesota Vikings.
That move allowed the club to replace Long on the 53-man roster without having to sit him for the rest of the season. Long came back to practice last week, which effectively started a 21-day clock in which St. Louis has that many days to put the former No. 2 overall pick back on the 53-man game day list.
If Long is not able to play within those 21 days (since the day he came back to practice), he would have to go on the regular injured reserve list, which would mean he would have to sit for the rest of the season.
Long was only able to participate in one-on-one drills last week, which meant he still wasn’t physically ready to play in the Rams’ 22-7 win over the Denver Broncos last Sunday.
But this week, Long has moved well at practice and was even able to participate in some 11-on-11 drills during live team periods Wednesday and Thursday.
Despite the clear progression in Long’s physical abilities, head coach Jeff Fisher wasn’t ready to say when Long might be able to actually play in a game.
“He’s getting better each day,” Fisher said. “We’ll just wait and see how he is (Friday). If that’s the case (and Long is ready to play), then obviously we have to make a roster move, so we’ll see how he is.”
The Rams can be as cautious as they like with Long’s return. The 21-day window for his return wouldn’t end until after next week’s home game against the Oakland Raiders. So even if Long isn’t able to play this week, they’d still have all of next week to get him ready before having to decide to put him on injured reserve for good.
There were nine players that didn’t practice on Wednesday, but three of them (all starters) were able to return to practice on Thursday.
Those players were LB James Laurinaitis (foot), OG Davin Joseph (not injury related), and TE Jared Cook (back). Laurinaitis and Joseph were full participants in Thursday’s workout, while Cook was limited.
For San Diego, the most significant injury is to QB Philip Rivers (chest/ribs). The five-time Pro Bowler and reigning NFL Comeback Player of the Year practiced fully on both Wednesday and Thursday, and is almost certain to start Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium against the Rams.
ST. LOUIS RAMS Injury Report
TE Cory Harkey (quad)
LB Daren Bates (groin)
LB James Laurinaitis (foot)
Injured Reserve/Designated for Return
DE Chris Long (foot)
CB Marcus Roberson (ankle)
DT Alex Carrington (knee)
LB Will Herring (foot)
WR Damian Williams (hamstring)
DB Lamarcus Joyner (groin)
TE Jared Cook (back)
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS Injury Report
DT Ryan Carrethers (elbow)
C Rich Ohrnberger (back/ankle)
S Jaleel Addae (concussion)
NT Sean Lissemore (quad)
QB Philip Rivers (chest/ribs)
CB Steve Williams (hamstring)
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.