St. Louis Rams

Rams’ Long optimistic as he nears potential return; injuries force offensive line moves

Out since Oct. 11 with a fractured bone in his knee, St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long is making solid progress toward a potential return to the lineup.

Long was a full participant at practice Wednesday and seemed excited about rejoining his teammates for the first time in more than a month. He has missed the last four games after being injured in a 24-10 loss to Green Bay.

“Really good,” was Long’s assessment of how he felt Wednesday after practice. “It’s not a ligament, I didn’t have to have surgery like last year. The bone just had to heal. It’s a fracture, it’s not like something that when you’re back you’re dragging it around.

“It’s not going to be like last year when I came back and I (stunk). I was terrible, I was awful. When I’m back, I’m back and I’m really excited to help the team however I can. I’ve just missed being out here.”

Long is tired of dealing with injuries after missing 10 games last season following ankle surgery. The 30-year-old defensive end was the second overall pick in 2008.

“It’s been frustrating like anybody else,” he said. “ I’m not the first guy to get hurt or injured. It’s out of your control, but when you’re hurt you feel like you’re letting people down, you’re on the sidelines and you’re watching your buddies play football. That’s your job and you just don’t feel like you’re doing your job.”

At one point this season, the Rams’ defense was without Long, Robert Quinn, Alec Ogletree and T.J. McDonald because of injuries.

“It’s a big year for this team and I want to help us win however I can,” Long said. “I’m not a huge part of it, but I’m a piece of it. You just want to be out there supporting your brothers. It’s just crappy timing, but there’s a lot of time left in the season.

“I think Coach Fisher and Les have done a great job of compiling depth and physicality at every position. Seeing Rob (Quinn) miss his first game, it was tough because you know how much it means for him to be out there. He’s such a dominant player and the captain. When I missed my first game it was crushing, so I wanted to be there for that guy.”

Rams injury report

The latest injury report released Wednesday showed Rams starting center Tim Barnes with a concussion and limited for practice. Quinn (hip) and rookie right tackle Rob Havenstein (calf) did not practice.

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Elvis Dumervil (knee) and tight end Nick Boyle (foot) did not practice and neither did guard Kelechi Osemele (knee).

With the loss of starting guard Jamon Brown (lower right leg fracture) and starting tackle Darrell Williams (dislocated wrist) on the same play Sunday against the Bears, the Rams moved quickly to patch some holes on the offensive line.

Brown and Williams each were placed on injured reserve and will not return this season.

The Rams elevated rookie tackle Isaiah Battle from the practice squad to the active roster, picked up guard-center Erik Kush on waivers, signed guard-center Eric Folkerts (a native of neaby Florissant, Mo.) and added former Missouri State guard David Arkin to the practice squad.

Defensive tackle Doug Worthington was cut and linebacker Gerald Rivers was released from the practice squad.

Battle was acquired in the 2015 NFL Supplemental Draft and cost the Rams their 2016 fifth-round pick.

Mr. Robinson

Second-year Rams offensive tackle Greg Robinson, the second overall pick in the 2014, picked up three holding penalties in Sunday’s loss to the Chicago Bears and has struggled at times with pass protection.

According to ProFootballReference.com, Robinson has been whistled eight times for holding this season while picking up three additional false start penalties.

“He’s making progress from the standpoint of knowing exactly what to do, but how to do it has been a little inconsistent here as of late,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. “So we have to keep working with him. The holdings, sometimes they’re called, sometimes they’re not. But, if they’re looking at him as a grabber right now, then he’s got to keep his hands inside.”

Norm Sanders: 618-239-2454, @NormSanders

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