Leg Injury Ends Salas' Season

Posted Nov 7, 2011

Just as he was getting comfortable and making a consistent difference in the Rams offense, receiver Greg Salas’ rookie season is over only eight games in.

Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo made official what was suspected following Sunday’s game against Arizona, Salas has a broken fibula and will miss the rest of the season when he is placed on injured reserve. That move is likely to come in the next 24 hours.

“Somebody fell on him,” Spagnuolo said. “The guy who was tackling him got underneath. Similar, when I say similar I mean a freak thing; you know Danny’s (Amendola) way back, he puts his arm down to brace himself and his elbow goes out. I’m not so sure there was anything Greg could do about that. The guy tackled him and fell on his leg.”

The play to which Spagnuolo is referring came with just less than five minutes to go in the game. Salas caught a short crossing route and was pulled down from behind by Arizona linebacker Darryl Washington.

As Washington and Salas fell toward the ground, Salas’ leg appeared to get caught up in the grass and tangled with Washington. When they finally landed, Washington came down on top of Salas.

Almost immediately, the rookie wideout knew something was wrong. The cart was brought out as well as the air cast and Salas was driven off clearly pained by what was about to happen.

Perhaps most disappointing for Salas is the fact that he was starting to come into his own. Taking on the role vacated by Amendola, Salas emerged as a favorite target of both quarterbacks Sam Bradford and A.J. Feeley.

In fact, Salas led the Rams with seven catches for 59 yards on Sunday and was the team’s leading receiver with 27 catches in addition to his 264 yards through the first half of the season.

“Yeah, unfortunately,” Spagnuolo said. “I thought a lot of these guys were progressing. Greg has been a guy that we’ve been going to, an inside slot guy that we know don’t have.”

Salas will have surgery on the broken bone in the coming days and his recovery will begin soon after.

In the meantime, the Rams now must find a replacement as they get down to their third player to step into the slot receiver position.

Austin Pettis replaced Salas on Sunday and was a revelation with a strong late game performance that included a big punt return and four catches for 43 yards.

As for replacing Salas on the roster, the logical choice would be Mark Clayton, who is in his final 48 hours on the team’s Physically Unable to Perform list.

The Rams must make a choice on what to do with Clayton, who is recovering from knee surgery but been battling soreness in his Achilles at practice since he resumed practice three weeks ago.

Should Clayton be healthy enough to be activated to the roster, he could provide another big boost to the passing game and capably fill in for Salas.

“Well, last week if you remember, he came out, he practiced and then he battled an Achilles, so he was down,” Spagnuolo said. “That seems to feel a little bit better. He didn’t have any setbacks last week. I know he feels pretty good right now, so we’ll see where we’re at. That’s certainly one of the options we can go to.”

Spagnuolo said a decision on Clayton would probably be made by tomorrow night.

SMITH UPDATE: It’s now been more than two weeks since right tackle Jason Smith suffered a strained neck and a concussion against Dallas.

Since, Smith has not done much of anything as the symptoms from the concussion linger. Spagnuolo said Monday that Smith will not practice again Wednesday and he still hasn’t begun to have the tests needed to be cleared to return to action.

“No, not at that point yet,” Spagnuolo said. “It’s not until (head athletic trainer) Reggie (Scott) feels comfortable that…and I hope I’m not saying this wrong, that all the symptoms are gone and it’s calmed down. Then you do the impact test and see where he’s at and clears that. Then it’s exertion. OK no more symptoms, Ok. Then if you get through that then it’s a practice without contact and then contact. He’s not at any of those points right now. He hasn’t been in a lot of the meetings, any of the meetings. He is rehabbing. They’re doing things with him, mostly rest.”

BRADFORD SORE: Quarterback Sam Bradford played on his sprained left ankle in Sunday’s game against Arizona and, as expected, came out of it feeling pretty sore.

Bradford’s left foot is back in the walking boot as a precaution as he had a little bit of a setback, which is to be expected with an injury like Bradford’s.

“He’s a day-to-day with this Wednesday practice,” Spagnuolo said. “Only in talking with Reggie, these high ankle sprains, you get them to a certain point, you go and play, then they go back a little. So, let’s see how far back we are. What you don’t want to do during the week is set him back and get him sore that he can’t go on Sunday. So, we’re going to have to play that balancing game throughout the week.”
INJURY REPORT: The Rams have a lengthy list of players dealing with injuries this week aside from the aforementioned Salas, Smith and Bradford.

Tight end Lance Kendricks has a mid foot strain and will be monitored day to day. The good news with him is that his MRI showed no major damages.

Elsewhere on the day to day injury front is receiver Danario Alexander (hamstring), running back Jerious Norwood (hamstring) and linebacker Josh Hull (hamstring) who will all be evaluated further on Wednesday.

End Eugene Sims (shoulder) and safety Darian Stewart (ankle) are expected to be OK but will be watched over the next couple of days before any further testing will be done.

The defensive tackle position presents an interesting quandary as Gary Gibson has a hip and back injury that could nag him this week. On the bright side, Spagnuolo said Darell Scott could be back from a concussion this week.

If neither can go, the Rams would be left with just starters Justin Bannan and Fred Robbins on the inside.

“Yeah, we’ll have to do something,” Spagnuolo said. “Hopefully we’ll get them back. We’re banged up everywhere. When I say that, it’s probably a little bit of an exaggeration, but we’ve got a banged up football team. We were already hurt going in. We’ll have to be smart about what we do during the week and yet we know we’re going to line up Sunday and play a football game.”