THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Brian Allen tried to be as involved as he could after undergoing a cleanup procedure on his knee in Week 2, but it just wasn't the same as actually being out there on the field.
Back this week for the Rams' Week 8 matchup with the 49ers, the Rams center said he's eager to contribute again.
"It's good. Fun to be back out there," Allen said Wednesday. "Whenever you get hurt in the NFL, it's not fun. I don't want to say you're not a part of the team, but just one of those periods of time where you're kind of away from certain stuff. And believe it or not, I enjoy doing this. It's annoying when you're not doing what you want to do, so it makes me a lot happier to be out there and be able to contribute."
Allen's return will provide a boost to an offensive line that has battled its fair share of injuries through the first six weeks of the season. As they worked through those combinations, quarterback Matthew Stafford was sacked 22 times.
"It's like watching your brother get beat up, and you can't get in there for a sucker punch," Allen said, when asked what it was like watching Los Angeles' offensive line deal with those injuries while he was sidelined.
Perhaps the biggest piece to Allen's return is the communication he will provide, something that Stafford praised him for last season. Stafford said last year that Allen thinks like a quarterback and sees things the same way he does, and on Thursday, indicated Allen's style of play can also impact the entire offensive line.
"He is a really veteran player for us, a guy that's got a lot of experience up there at the center position," Stafford said. "He's a great communicator, physical player, a tone setter for us, owns what we're trying to do as an offense. I think that kind of permeates you at the offensive line."
Allen said he had been dealing with "loose bodies" in his knee since "March or April." He said some players handle it differently, and he thought it would go away by limiting his reps during organized team activities and later training camp.
Allen said he finally got the swelling down, only to have 50 CC's drained out of his knee Wednesday morning of Week 1 – meaning the day before the Rams' season-opener against the Bills.
While the whole process was frustrating for Allen, he indicated it's the healthiest he's felt in quite some time.
"It's kind of an uncomfortable feeling going out there with one-and-a-half legs," Allen said. "So I feel better now than I felt going into last year, so I'm pretty happy. Sucks that it happened when it did, and I had to miss the time that I did, but I feel better than you know when I felt – I feel like it's 2019 again, so it's nice to have a new knee and just have confidence in that."