Bradford Making Progress

Posted Nov 2, 2011

On this week’s edition of “As the Ankle Heals,” Rams quarterback Sam Bradford appears to be poised to make his first strides toward a return since suffering a high left ankle sprain in the Oct. 16 game against Green Bay.

With the ankle out of the hard cast and walking boot he’d been wearing for the better part of the past two weeks, Bradford is beginning to feel free again and moving better than he has since suffering the injury.

“You have no idea,” Bradford said. “It feels great. It feels nice to be allowed to come outside and watch practice, too. It’s much better than sitting in the training room so it feels great and hopefully it will only continue to get better.”

Before anyone jumps the gun on what that means for Bradford’s status against Arizona this week, it’s important to note that Bradford did not practice on Wednesday and was listed as such on the injury report.

However, Bradford at least took a step in the right direction by participating in a little bit of the team’s walk through and being out on the practice field rather than the training room during the workout.

“He stood in there during our walkthrough and kind of took some plays,” coach Steve Spagnuolo said. “He didn’t move very much but he was standing there doing some walkthrough stuff but that’s it.”

The best news for Bradford is that he’s no longer wearing the walking boot or hard cast that he had been sporting recently. In fact, Bradford is wearing a light brace when he’s on the field but is able to walk around at home like normal without the use of any brace or additional padding.

Likewise, Bradford has been working on some strengthening exercises with head athletic trainer Reggie Scott. 

“It feels pretty good walking around,” Bradford said. “I haven’t tested it with running or full speed drops but Reggie has a plan and we are on that plan. We came out here and did a little bit today and we’ll hopefully do a little more tomorrow and see where it is by the end of the week.”

Scott has pieced together a schedule for Bradford to follow as he continues to rehab the ankle and get ready to test it again.

The Rams are taking a cautious approach with Bradford after he suffered a bit of a setback when he tested the ankle in a Friday practice on Oct. 21.

The always competitive Bradford would prefer to be back on the field now and going through a normal week of practice but that doesn’t seem quite possible just yet.

For this week, Bradford is hoping to make small steps this week in practice and eventually find his way on to the field for Sunday’s game in Arizona.

“If they would have let me practice today I would have loved to have practiced,” Bradford said. “Yeah, I think hopefully by Friday or even tomorrow I can get in there for a couple reps. I think one of the big things is whatever we do this week, we don’t want to make it more sore for Sunday if I do play. Whatever we do, just make sure it’s enough to get by and hopefully go into the game as fresh as possible.”

JOHNSON’S DEBUT: Perhaps it flew a bit under the radar because of plays made by some of his fellow young teammates but cornerback Marquis Johnson returned to action against the Saints and made a strong first impression.

Working exclusively in the nickel, Johnson played about 37 plays and proved to be solid in coverage and strong coming up to help against the run.

“Pretty solid for going out there and…normally the rest of the guys get the advantage of four preseason games,” Spagnuolo said. “So, you get out there in a game setting and you get to hit somebody. Marquis just runs out there and plays the New Orleans Saints. I don’t know, 30 something snaps or whatever he played. I thought he was really solid. It was a couple things there he missed, but I thought he tackled pretty good for really not having any live tackling. We didn’t have him out here live tackling in practice, so I thought he stepped up pretty good.”

Johnson finished with seven tackles, a quarterback pressure and a pass defended. Not bad for a player making his 2011 debut after more than a year away from the game because of shoulder and knee surgeries.

“I always thought he was a natural football player,” Spagnuolo said. “I go back to where he played college football. I think he was well coached there at Alabama. He’s got a good feel. The systems are a little bit similar, different in some ways. I always felt he had a good sense of football instincts and he played with a little bit of that yesterday.”

INJURY REPORT: Aside from Bradford, the injury report was as expected following Spagnuolo’s Monday news conference.

Joining Bradford on the did not practice list were right tackle Jason Smith and defensive tackle Darell Scott.

Smith and Scott have been held out as they continue to battle concussion symptoms. They have yet to take the proper tests to be cleared to return to action.

“Until we get to the impact test, they are trying to get rid of the symptoms,” Spagnuolo said.

Receiver Danario Alexander (hamstring), linebacker Brady Poppinga (calf) and guard Tony Wragge (knee) were limited in Wednesday’s practice.

Also limited was receiver Mark Clayton, who remains on the Physically Unable to Perform list as he battles a sore Achilles.

“He worked out here today in a limited amount,” Spagnuolo said. “He’s fighting the Achilles soreness. We’ll see. He’s just to take it day to day.”

The Rams have until early next week to make a decision on Clayton’s status.

One player not listed on the injury report was cornerback Justin King. He is recovered from his groin injury and didn’t miss a snap in practice. 

“I think the safe thing was to shut him down and now I think he feels pretty good,” Spagnuolo said.

Of note on Arizona’s injury report were quarterback Kevin Kolb (toe) and running back Beanie Wells (knee). Neither participated in Wednesday’s practice.