ST. LOUIS (AP) -St. Louis Rams coach Scott Linehan expects Steven Jackson, who ended a 27-day holdout Aug. 20, to carry a full load in the season opener.
``He's ready to go,'' Linehan said Wednesday. ``He's gotten in two weeks of real solid conditioning along with the reps. We're going to play him like we always do. He looks like his same old self to me.''
Jackson will be running behind a line led by seven-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle Orlando Pace, who said he hasn't felt this healthy since before last season's opener. Pace had a season-ending shoulder injury in the first game last season and missed the final two preseason games with a biceps tendon strain in the surgically repaired shoulder. He has taken all the snaps this week.
Linehan said Pace probably could have played in the preseason finale last Thursday at Kansas City, but he held out all the regulars except for center Nick Leckey. He noted that Pace had a ``productive, grueling training camp.''
``Everything's good and ready to go,'' Pace said. ``I just can't wait to get back out there. It's been a long trek back.''
Jackson got a lot of extra work after signing a six-year, $44 million contract, and Linehan said last week served as a ``semi-boot camp'' for the running back coming off his third straight 1,000-yard season despite missing four games with injuries. This week, Jackson is on the same schedule as the rest of the roster.
Jackson said he would speak to reporters on Thursday, which has been his practice in past seasons.
The lone player to miss practice Wednesday was rookie wide receiver Donnie Avery (knee), the second-round pick. Center Brett Romberg (broken hand) was limited, while cornerback Fakhir Brown (shoulder) and running back Brian Leonard (shoulder) each were full participants.
Linehan said Brown is nearly ready after being injured early in training camp.
``We're pretty healthy, probably as healthy as we'll be all year,'' Linehan said. ``Probably everybody in the league feels the same way.''

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