Amendola Making Progress

Posted Oct 24, 2012

(Photo courtesy of AP Images)

LONDON – While it likely remains a long shot that Rams receiver Danny Amendola will be available to play on Sunday as he continues to recover from a shoulder injury, Amendola’s mere presence on the practice field Wednesday afternoon was enough to provide a boost to his team.

“Anytime you get Danny back out there,” quarterback Sam Bradford said. “Even if he is just doing a little bit, (it’s good). I think today, just the guys seeing him out there knowing that he’s close to coming back, I think he gave everyone a little bit of a spark today.”

Indeed, while no timetable for Amendola’s shoulder injury suffered in the Thursday night contest against Arizona back on Oct. 4 was ever put into place, Amendola’s tenacity and desire to get back on the field almost certainly has him on a trajectory toward an early return.

Various reports on the severity of the injury have run the gamut from life threatening to something that would cost him closer to a month and a half. But instead of commenting on his ailment, Amendola has clearly made it a point to attack his rehabilitation.

In Wednesday’s practice at the Arsenal Soccer Club training facility on the outskirts of London, Amendola made a surprise appearance and did a bit more than just stand on the sidelines watching his teammates go through the paces of a normal Wednesday practice.

Amendola did some individual drills and some light work on the side, which wasn’t exactly anything Earth shattering, but it was clearly a step in the right direction. Of course, if he had it his way, his role in practice would have taken on a much different look.

“I think if it were up to Danny, he would have taken every rep today,” Bradford said. “That’s just how he is. Even last year, after he tore his triceps, he wanted to play. Obviously he had to have surgery but he never wants to miss a play. You really respect him for that.”

The tenacious wideout has always been a bit of a gym rat and the idea of not practicing is enough to drive him crazy. Wednesday’s practice was his first of any kind since suffering the injury.

In fact, Amendola only started appearing on the sidelines of practice just last week.

With a bye week scheduled following this week’s game against London, it would probably surprise no one to see him aim for a return in time for the Week 10 contest against San Francisco.

Of course, there is nothing definitive on Amendola’s return and it will likely remain that way until he can get back to practice on a more permanent basis. Not that it would be wise to tell him he can’t get back sooner than later.

“I think I’m past that because I realized it really wouldn’t do much good with Danny,” Bradford said. “It’s falling on deaf ears.”

FISHER RETURNS: Rams coach Jeff Fisher has actually been to London before and not just for vacation.

“I was here in the late 80’s with the Philadelphia Eagles,” Fisher said. “What they had back then was the American Bowl and those were preseason games. Then I came in ’92 with the San Francisco 49ers in another preseason game.”

Clearly, since the days of the American bowl, the game has grown and expanded in its scope not only in the United States but abroad as well.

Fisher said he can get a sense of the excitement for the game Sunday and for American football in general in the short time he’s been here with the Rams.  

“I haven’t been back since ’92 but back in both those trips I made, they were very excited about football here,” Fisher said.

A TEAM IN LONDON: Fisher was asked Wednesday afternoon about his take on the NFL expanding into Europe, specifically with a team in London.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has made reference to wanting a team in London in the past but there are no hard and fast plans for anything to happen anytime soon.

Fisher said he’d be on board if the league could find a way to make it work considering all of the logistical issues that could arise.

“You’d have to talk to the Commissioner about that,” Fisher said. “I think he’s going to be in this weekend. I think it would be great if the owners and the Commissioner, if that’s something that they want. There’s some things I am certain that need to be worked out and that’s travel. The most important thing in our business is that our 32 teams remain competitive and there’s competitive balance in our league. So the question would be how they would facilitate that.”

LIONS AND TIGERS AND PRINCES?: As so often happens in situations such as playing a foreign country, certain interactions or questions can get lost in translation. Such as it was, Fisher and Bradford were asked something a bit off the wall by a local reporter during their Wednesday news conferences.

Citing the folklore surrounding lions, dragons and princes affiliated with the region, Fisher was asked which of his players would fall into each category.

“Oh boy,” Fisher said, a wry smile across his face. “And this won’t get back to them? I can’t answer the prince one. Lions and dragons, I’d say we’ve got more than one lion. We have one on offense and one on defense and that would be (LB) James (Laurinaitis) and Jack (RB Steven Jackson). The dragon, oh boy, probably our kicker (Greg Zuerlein). No princes, I hope we don’t have princes.”

Bradford (rightfully) was confused by the question when asked to follow up Fisher’s answer by naming a prince, claiming it might be “a little weird.”  

INJURY REPORT: In addition to Amendola, the Rams saw some more good signs from other players they have on the mend.

Tackle Rodger Saffold (knee) and linebacker Mario Haggan (thigh) were among a group of players listed as non-participants in Wednesday’s practice but that doesn’t mean the pair isn’t progressing. They both did some running on the side in Wednesday’s practice.

Joining Saffold and Haggan on the not participating list were receiver Chris Givens (illness), tackle Wayne Hunter (back) and end Eugene Sims (knee). Sims did not make the trip with the team to London.

Defensive tackle Matt Conrath joined Amendola as limited participants as he continues to deal with a knee issue.

New England is notorious for its lengthy injury reports and Wednesday was no different. Of note on the list were linebacker Jerod Mayo (illness/elbow) and cornerback Ras-I Dowling (thigh) as non-participants.

Eleven Patriots were listed as limited including tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, among others.