ST. LOUIS (AP) -Just when it looked like the winless Rams were starting to get healthy, several key players were banged up in Sunday's 27-20 loss to Cleveland.
Running back Steven Jackson, who returned to the lineup after missing a month with a groin injury, scored his first touchdown of the season before leaving the game late in the first quarter with lower back pain.
``It was back spasms,'' Jackson said. ``It was overcompensation with my groin.''
He finished with 41 yards on eight carries and had one reception for 9 yards. St. Louis (0-8) scored touchdowns on the first two series he was in the game, but managed only two field goals after he left.
``I think it hurt them that they didn't have Steven,'' Cleveland coach Romeo Crennel said. ``Steven gave them a boost early in the game. If he had been able to stay in there, it could have been a different outcome.''
Also Sunday, right guard Richie Incognito injured a knee in the first quarter and quarterback Marc Bulger sprained his thumb midway through the third quarter.
Bulger was able to return to the game; Incognito was not.
After Bulger went out, Gus Frerotte took over and directed the Rams for eight plays that culminated in a 46-yard field goal by Jeff Wilkins to cut the Cleveland lead to 24-20.
Bulger was taken in for X-rays and threw some balls in the locker room. He decided to keep playing.
``I'll break every bone in my body before I take myself out,'' Bulger said.
Incognito, who missed the first four games with a high ankle sprain, was to have an MRI on Monday.
``I got turned the wrong way and I didn't feel something pop but it didn't feel right so I came out,'' Incognito said. ``It started feeling worse and worse.''
Jackson tried to get back in the game, but couldn't.
``We brought the chiropractor down,'' Jackson said. ``You know, he tried to crack me up. Stretched me. He really worked on me to try and get it to loosen up. But that muscle just wouldn't cooperate with me today.''
The Rams offensive line began the day with only one starter - tackle Alex Barron - from its opening-day roster. Barron moved to left tackle after Orlando Pace was lost for the year with a shoulder injury in the opener.
Right tackle Brandon Gorin, signed in September, made his first start Sunday, and Milford Brown moved from right tackle to left guard.
Guard Mark Setterstrom (knee) is out for the year and top backup Todd Steussie is out for half the season with a broken foot. Center Brett Romberg (sprained ankles) also is out and 37-year-old backup Andy McCollum is starting.
Defensive end Leonard Little is out with a torn ligament in his toe, and receiver Dante Hall is out with a high left ankle sprain.
``I don't know about all these injuries,'' McCollum said. ``It's been happening a lot to us. I don't know how many injuries one team can get, you know, but we've got to be close to some sort of record.''
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