Isaiah Pead suffered a freak injury in his preseason debut that is likely season-ending for the third-year running back.
Pead might have torn the ACL in his left knee returning a kickoff in the first quarter of the St. Louis Rams' 21-7 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Saturday.
He was returning from a broken finger in his right hand that he sustained early in training camp.
"It appears that we have lost Isaiah to an ACL,'' Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. "After talking to our doctors, it's unlikely that he has not torn his ACL, which is very tough for him.
"He was fighting back. He had a fracture in his finger. He had surgery, we pinned it. He was excited about getting the opportunity to return a kick with the ball in his left hand, and it's unfortunate that it happened. We'll just hope for the best.''
Pead wasn't touched on the kickoff return. He was making a cut when it appeared his cleat caught on the turf. He tumbled to the turf, and he had to be helped off the field by the Rams' trainers.
"He tried to jump cut,'' Fisher said. "Benny (Cunningham) threw a great block, and it might have spooked him a little bit because when I got out on the field the doctors told him that he didn't hit anybody, he wasn't tackled. He thought he was tackled.
"It was one of the non-contact freak things that happens out there sometimes.''
Pead, a second-round pick out of Cincinnati, has had little impact in his two seasons with the Rams. He had 10 carries for 54 yards as a rookie in 2012 and seven carries for 21 yards last season.
No where to run
The Rams' running game struggled to get untracked against the Packers.
They ended up with 78 yards on 27 carries, an average of 2.9 yards per carry.
Starting running back Zac Stacy had six carries for only six yards as he was met by defenders in the backfield on several plays.
"We were hoping for more,'' Fisher said. "They are very stout up front and we didn't do a lot of game planning, so I'm not too concerned about the run game. We'll get that thing going. It was a little frustrating at times just because there were so much penetration.''
Penalties were a problem for both teams.
The Rams were penalized 10 times for 76 yards, while the Packers were penalized 12 times for 95 yards.
There were six illegal use of the hands to the face penalties -- three on each team -- in the game.
There also were five defensive holding penalties, four of those coming against the Packers.
"Most of them appeared to be the points of emphasis with hands to the face and defensive holding,'' Fisher said. "We just have to keep coaching them, trying to get them to understand that those things are going to get called. I don't anticipate anything changing once the regular season starts.''
Rookie defensive end Michael Sam, the first openly gay player in the NFL, registered his first sack of the preseason when he got around Derek Sherrod and tackled quarterback Matt Flynn with about seven minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Sam's sack cut short a drive, forcing the Packers to settle for a 49-yard field goal by Mason Crosby.
Rookie defensive end Ethan Westbrooks, who is battling for a roster spot along with Sam, also had a sack.
* Rookie Marcus Roberson started at cornerback with both Janoris Jenkins and E.J. Gaines sitting out.
* Rookie Lamarcus Joyner was the leading tackler for the Rams with six, according to the press box statistics.
Joyner also forced a fumble that was recovered by teammate Cody Davis.
Contact reporter Steve Korte at email@example.com or 239-2522.