Rams lose another offensive lineman, guard Incognito Print
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Monday, 29 October 2007 14:19
NFL Headline News

 ST. LOUIS (AP) -It's back to the salvage yard for the winless St. Louis Rams, who lost their third offensive lineman to a season-ending injury Monday.
Guard Richie Incognito's right kneecap popped out of place, a partial dislocation with accompanying cartilage damage, in the first quarter of Sunday's loss to the Browns. Incognito was optimistic after the game that the injury was not serious, but after an MRI exam coach Scott Linehan said surgery would be required followed by a ``somewhat lengthy recovery time.''
The news was more encouraging on running back Steven Jackson, sidelined by back spasms in the first half after a strong start against Cleveland. An MRI exam on Monday revealed a bulging disk, but Linehan is optimistic he could return to the lineup without missing a game.
The Rams (0-8) have a bye this week and play next at New Orleans on Nov. 11.
``Maybe it's good timing that we have the bye this week, for him,'' Linehan said. ``Certainly I would think he wouldn't be able to play this week.''
The Rams will practice Tuesday and Wednesday before getting four days off to lick their wounds. Linehan, 8-8 in his first season with the Rams, was told a few weeks ago his job was not in immediate jeopardy and said Monday team president John Shaw has been ``very supportive.''
``I met with him yesterday and there's no plan to meet with him this week,'' Linehan said. ``I talk to John every week.''
Linehan, never a head coach before the Rams hired him, said he's doing his best to cope with the Rams' plight.
``I'll always say this, I'm one of the luckiest people in the world to have one of these 32 jobs and be in this position,'' Linehan said. ``I don't think I'm having the luckiest season of my career.''
Tackle Alex Barron is the only offensive line starter to avoid injury. Tackle Orlando Pace (shoulder) and guard Mark Setterstrom (knee) also are out for the season and center Brett Romberg was out Sunday with two sprained ankles, although he could be back after the bye.
Two top backups also are out. Adam Goldberg (knee) is on injured reserve and Todd Steussie, released with an injury settlement after breaking his foot in the preseason, could make his season debut against the Seahawks on Nov. 25.
``It's something I never want to go through again,'' Linehan said. ``I'm sure nobody can really go back in their past and say 'When we lost our entire offensive line, this is what we did ...' ``
The situation has left the Rams scouring the waiver wire for replacements. Milford Brown, who's made seven starts at guard and tackle; Brandon Gorin, who made his first start at right tackle on Sunday; and Nick Leckey, who filled in at guard after Incognito's injury, all were released by the Arizona Cardinals in the last few months.
Linehan said he'll try to find a replacement to plug in at right guard, Incognito's position, without shifting other personnel. Barron moved from right tackle to left tackle after Pace's injury.
Rookie center Dustin Fry, a fifth-round pick, and tackle Jeremy Parquet are on the practice team.
``It's bad luck, it really is, because every one of them is a very isolated incident,'' Linehan said.
The Rams ran behind Brown, considered the best of the run blockers still standing, when Brian Leonard was twice stopped short on third-and-1 and fourth-and-1 from the Cleveland 16 with less than two minutes to go and the Rams trailing by 7. Leckey is a center and was in an unfamiliar position.
Incognito also missed the first four games with a high ankle sprain sustained in the preseason. Linehan said Incognito's leg was caught in an awkward position when he was hurt and he also stepped on quarterback Marc Bulger's foot.
``I was trying to shut down a little bull rush and I stepped on Marc's foot and got turned a little funny,'' Incognito said Sunday. ``It didn't feel right. I came out and it just got progressively worse.''
The Rams drafted Incognito in the third round in 2005 knowing he'd miss that entire season with a similar injury to his right kneecap.
 

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