Rodger Saffold's return big for Rams

Rodger Saffold entered the St. Louis Rams' season opener at left tackle and departed on a stretcher board after suffering a neck injury.

The prospect of Saffold playing in Week 2 appeared beyond any reasonable expectation when medical personnel were carefully transporting Saffold from Ford Field to a nearby hospital. The hope then was that Saffold had escaped a life-altering or even life-threatening injury.

The injury, diagnosed as a neck strain, was far less serious than it could have been. In fact, Saffold was well enough to practice on a limited basis Wednesday. And when he became a full participant Thursday, coach Jeff Fisher told reporters that the third-year tackle had a chance to play against Washington on Sunday.

The Rams will of course welcome all the positive injury news they can get after injuries hit the 2011 team harder than all but one team has been hit since at least 2002, according to a Football Outsiders estimate.

At the very least, they should have Saffold back in the lineup soon. The team has already lost two of its top three offseason acquisitions. Center Scott Wells is out until midseason. First-round pick Michael Brockers could miss a few more games. The other marquee addition, cornerback Cortland Finnegan, returned an interception for a touchdown Sunday.