Jackson's thigh injury has Rams less optimistic he'll play

ST. LOUIS -- St Louis coach Jim Haslett was optimistic early in the week about Steven Jackson's return, but now it looks like the running back's thigh injury is healing more slowly than the Rams hoped.

Haslett was guarded Wednesday after Jackson began practice with the first unit but then had his work scaled back. Jackson leads the Rams (2-5) in rushing with 508 yards and four touchdowns, and is one reception off the team lead with 25 catches and a 10.4-yard average.

"That's going to be a day-to-day thing, just see how he feels when he's running," Haslett said. "But he did a couple of things today and I think he did OK."

Haslett said Jackson, defensive tackle Adam Carriker (sprained ankle) and cornerback Tye Hill (knee) all would be "question marks," along with defensive end Leonard Little, for Sunday's game against the Cardinals (4-3). He anticipated Hill would be eased back as the fifth defensive back but was unsure about the rest.

Jackson normally talks with reporters on Thursdays and was not made available on Wednesday. Antonio Pittman started in last week's 23-16 loss at New England, rushing for 83 yards on 19 carries as Jackson sat out. But he lacks Jackson's bruising quality.

An MRI exam on Little revealed he aggravated a hamstring injury sustained in the season opener. Little had been hoping scar tissue was the culprit.

"I'm just going to see how it goes," Little said. "It's an injury that's going to be here the whole year, so I've just got to stay on top of it."

Haslett was not optimistic about Little's availability.

"It's bothering him," the coach said. "He didn't play three quarters, so I would think it's pretty significant."

Hill underwent arthroscopic surgery for cartilage damage to his right knee after being injured against the Bills in Week 4, and returned to practice on a limited basis late last week. He said the knee stiffened as practice went on, and was anxious to see how it would respond.

"I'm happy with where I'm at right now, considering the type of injury I had," Hill said. "We've got to see how it feels tomorrow, see how stiff it is."

Carriker was limited, but said after practice the ankle was close to 100 percent.

"I should be able to play," Carriker said. "I probably wouldn't have done too well last week, but this week it's getting better."

The Rams said kicker Josh Brown would be announced as NFC special teams player of the month on Thursday. Brown is 14-for-16 on field goal attempts on the season after signing a five-year, $14.2 million free agent contract, the most ever by a kicker.

He hit a 49-yard field goal as time expired to beat the Redskins on Oct. 12, hit a 52-yarder against the Cowboys on Oct. 19 and made three field goals plus a touchdown-saving tackle last Sunday at New England when he ran down Ellis Hobbs on a kickoff return.

"I honestly don't know my stats," Brown said. "If I miss, I know I had a bad game. It's cool to be a good part of this team."