As of Wednesday afternoon’s practice, Rams center
“We have got him off the injured reserve list now officially on the practice field,” Rams coach Jeff Fisher said after the practice.
In other words, Wells was no longer limited to just individual drills and taking mental repetitions on the sidelines. He participated fully in the workout and could potentially return to the starting lineup Sunday in Arizona for the first time since suffering a foot injury in the season opener against Detroit.
For Wells, who has never missed more than two weeks with an injury of any sort, the chance to get back on the field without limitation has been more than two months in the making.
“It’s good to be able to get some reps with the first team and get back in the groove,” Wells said.
Upon his return, Wells will have some key priorities in working his way back not just to practice but should he hope to land in Sunday’s starting lineup. A determination on Wells’ status for Sunday won’t be made until later in the week but he remains hopeful that he can get through this week without any setbacks.
“I’m always optimistic,” Wells said. “The coaches, that’s their decision but I am excited to be out there and get back in the groove working with the guys and being outside of the training room. I do feel good.”
Perhaps the first order of business for the center in his return from injury is getting back on the same page with quarterback
That duo was limited in its work together before the season and into training camp as Wells recovered from a knee operation and hasn’t been able to spend much time together recently to get on the same page.
“The biggest thing for me is learning to take snaps from him again,” Bradford said. “Obviously, I have taken snaps from Rob (Turner) for the past nine, 10 weeks. They snap it in a different way so it’s just getting comfortable with those again. But I don’t think the line calls really should be a problem.”
For his part, Wells has made it a point to stay in tune with the mental aspects of his job. He’s attended every meeting and focused on being mentally sharp so when this day came he’d be up to speed and could focus solely on getting back into physical shape to knock off the rust as fast as possible.
“I have been in the meetings the whole time,” Wells said. “That’s key. It’s one thing to learn and focus inside the meeting room. It’s another thing to take it on to the field and do the physical aspect of it so really the past two weeks, doing all of the individual, running the look squad has been great just knocking the rust off. This week being able to get in with the first team and really getting back in synch with everybody and working with the guys has been huge.”
Getting Wells back on the roster in any capacity should be a boon for the Rams line and the offense as a whole.
The Rams targeted Wells in free agency and then lured him with a lucrative free-agent contract because of his Pro Bowl ability and experience. Should he return this week, Bradford said it would certainly be helpful.
“He’s a good player,” Bradford said. “He’s another solid guy upfront. He went to the Pro Bowl. We expect him to come in and play at a high level and hopefully bring those guys up front together.”
MILLER LET GO: To make room for Wells’ return from the injured reserve/designated for return list, the Rams had to make a corresponding roster move.
The move they selected was a tough one as they opted to release fullback Brit Miller, who was also the special teams’ captain.
“It was really difficult,” Fisher said. “We needed a roster spot for Scott and we weren’t using the personnel grouping very much with the fullback and we brought (tight end)
The Rams have not used the fullback much in recent weeks and when they did, they have deployed tight end
From a personal side, the move was a hard one to make.
“It was difficult because Brit was really part of the fabric of this football team and was voted captain and such,” Fisher said. “But sometimes that’s where the business side kicks in. It’s unfortunate but we appreciate everything he has done. He was a great teammate.”
THANKSGIVING PLANS: With Thanksgiving set for tomorrow, Fisher decided to slightly alter the schedule so his players could have more time with their respective families.
The Rams will practice Thursday about 20 minutes earlier than the normal time which won’t make a huge difference but the payback will come on the other end when they don’t have the usual battery of meetings scheduled for after practice.
“We are going to work,” Fisher said. “In the NFL, that’s what you do on Thanksgiving. We are actually going to move things up a little bit and get the players out of here. We won’t have post-practice meetings tomorrow. We’ll let them go home and enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday with their families.”
The team will practice again Friday and once again travel to the West Coast a day earlier with a Friday night departure set for Phoenix.
INJURY REPORT: Wednesday’s injury report wasn’t terribly long for the Rams but it did include some important names.
Fisher said the Rams were simply resting Jackson and Kendricks. The other two will have to be monitored closely the rest of the week.
“Danny didn’t practice with a foot,” Fisher said. “We’ll see how he is tomorrow.”
The Cardinals, meanwhile, had a much lengthier injury report with 16 players listed, including 10 who were limited participants in Wednesday’s practice.
Among the big names on the limited participation list were end Calais Campbell (calf), guard Daryn Colledge (foot), quarterback Kevin Kolb (ribs), safety Kerry Rhodes (back) and running back LaRod Stephens-Howling (ribs).