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Injured Rams returning at right time

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 | 7:32 p.m. CDT

ST. LOUIS — Two key players could be back for the St. Louis Rams' offense that'll still be featuring running back Steven Jackson after their bye week.

Wide receiver Danny Amendola said he'll definitely be in the lineup at San Francisco next week, and offensive tackle Rodger Saffold is hopeful of playing.

Jackson had no comment to The Associated Press on Wednesday, a day after coach Jeff Fisher quashed trade rumors and said simply, "He's our running back." After shouting to a public relations assistant for help, Jackson left the locker room.

Amendola and Saffold got limited work Wednesday, and Fisher said they appear to be on track, if there are no setbacks.

"Yeah, absolutely," Amendola said. "I'm ready to come back, and I'm ready to do what I can."

Amendola is coming off a collarbone injury that has sidelined him for three weeks and returned to practice last week in London. Saffold has missed six games with a left knee injury.

Saffold said the hurdle he must clear is "feeling normal again."

"You have to have a lot of confidence, especially after you do something to your knee," Saffold said. "It's not an easy task to have a knee injury and be able to come back and play the way that you want to.

"They've been constantly working on me little by little, so I keep having confidence in my knee."

Amendola was hurt on a diving attempt at a catch in the second quarter against Arizona in Week 5 and will wear a custom pad to protect the area. He missed virtually all of last season after dislocating his left elbow in the opener and then injuring a triceps muscle after returning to practice.

He was among the league leaders in receptions (32) and yards (395) before getting hurt.

"Absolutely, it's frustrating," Amendola said. "When you sit out a year and then go down again and have to miss a couple games, it's hard.

"It's feeling good right now, I have full range of motion and strength and everything."

Saffold sustained what the Rams termed a third-degree MCL sprain of his left knee advancing a fumble in the first quarter of a 31-28 victory over the Redskins in Week 2. He had been a surprise starter after being hospitalized with a neck strain after the opener.

Saffold said his leg got stuck in the ground while he was diving forward, and then he got hit. Judging from the pain he wondered if he'd miss the rest of the year.

"And that's the same old story you see all the time," Saffold said. "It could have been a lot worse."

In addition to rehabilitation, Saffold said he's stayed in the game mentally.

"If we feel I'm ready to go, I'll go," Saffold said. "If that's not an option, if they feel I need to sit back, then I will."

The Rams (3-5) will practice again Thursday before players get four days off before starting the second half of the season.


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