A great deal of attention has been paid during training camp to the ankle of St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford and there’s a good reason for that: Bradford says it isn’t 100 percent and a report today indicates he may need surgery after the season.
Bradford, who missed six games last season with a severe high ankle sprain, has said that the ankle “is as good as it’s going to feel” and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.com reports that “there is a definite possibility that a corrective procedure will be prescribed, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.”
The Rams believe they can manage the ankle throughout the season and that another offseason of rest may help it heal. “It is a little bit frustrating that it's somewhat there still,” Bradford said Aug. 5. “I thought that with rest in the offseason, it would've been gone by now. But it's not. I've talked about it with Reg [trainer Reggie Scott]. I understand what his plan is, and I think we're doing as good as we can right now in managing it.”
Coach Jeff Fisher points out that it can take a year for a high ankle sprain to heal. “There’s going to be residual effects from high-ankle sprains, especially when you come back into practice like he is,” Fisher said. “But we don’t anticipate it to be a problem, and it hasn’t been one. He’s moving around fine.”
These are the Rams, though, and there’s a level of risk for Bradford, who has been battered in 26 regular-season NFL games since being the No. 1 draft pick. He “can live to tell about it,” Bernie Miklasz of STLToday.com writes, “despite being sacked 70 times, knocked down 151 times and having 27 passes batted down at the line. He's been ‘hurried’ 73 times and hit 30 times while in the act of throwing. If this continues, the Rams will have Leon Spinks for a quarterback.”
The Rams, who are installing a new offense under Brian Schottenheimer, will run the ball more often and will focus on improved offensive-line play, both of which should help keep Bradford upright. As Miklasz points out, Pro Football Focus says Bradford has been under pressure on 34 percent of his career passing attempts. If that continues, it isn’t going to be lost on anyone that the Rams could have taken Robert Griffin III in the NFL Draft this spring.
“Obviously to me it's very frustrating because I thought that by this point this year it would be a non-factor,” Bradford told La Canfora. “But I think the greatest thing is it hasn't caused me to miss any reps. They haven't cut back anything. I'm able to get through everything in practice. We just have to figure out the best way to manage it during the year, and I'm sure it will be different once we start playing games.”