The St. Louis Rams, who have won three of the last four games following a disastrous 0-8 beginning to their season, are likely to have quarterback Marc Bulger back in the starting lineup this week when they play at Cincinnati.
On Tuesday, Bulger, 30, passed a neuropsychological examination, and he has been cleared to return to practice on Wednesday morning. Last week, Bulger failed a similar battery of tests after suffering a concussion in the Rams' game against Seattle on Nov. 25, and he was held out of Sunday's contest with the Atlanta Falcons.
Barring any setbacks, Bulger should be able to start against the Bengals. The coaches and team doctors will monitor him during the week, but don't anticipate any residual effects.
The likely return of Bulger is critical for the Rams, since backup Gus Frerotte suffered a shoulder injury Sunday that will probably sideline him for at least one game. St. Louis would likely have had to start journeyman Brock Berlin, who last week was elevated from the practice squad to the active roster.
Berlin has yet to throw a regular-season pass.
St. Louis officials have contacted veteran free agent quarterback Todd Bouman and could sign him if they feel they need insurance at the position this week.
A typically durable player, Bulger has missed three games this season, two of them in October when coach Scott Linehan decided to bench him because of two cracked ribs and the punishment he was absorbing while playing behind a line decimated by injuries. In his nine starts, Bulger has completed 170 of 279 passes for 1,789 yards, with six touchdown passes, nine interceptions and a 73.3 passer rating.
The season has been a disappointing one for Bulger, who enjoyed a career year in 2006, throwing for over 4,000 yards and establishing new career highs in virtually every major category. The season earned Bulger, a two-time Pro Bowl performer, a six-year, $65 million contract extension this summer.
Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com.