Chris Long returns to practice

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long returned to practice Wednesday afternoon, opening his window to return from the team's injured reserve/designated to return list.

Long, of course, has been working his way back from an ankle injury suffered in the season opener against Minnesota on Sept. 7. Soon after, the Rams placed him injured reserve but designated him to return. Under the rules of that designation, Long now has a three-week window in which he must be activated to the roster. If he's not, he will be declared out for the season.

On Monday, Rams coach Jeff Fisher said he would sit down with Long on Tuesday and discuss whether it was time for Long to open the window. That discussion led to Long returning to do at least a little bit of work Wednesday afternoon.

"We started the window for Chris so he’ll be able to practice," Fisher said. "He didn’t do much today but he’s just going to keep adding to it. We feel like the designated IR situation gives you a 21-day period so we think he’ll definitely be ready to play within that period."

The Rams have seven games remaining, meaning at worst Long could return and still play in four more games. Long said he wouldn't make any predictions about when he'll be able to play in a game but he was just happy to get back on the field with his team.

"It was a good start," Long said. "There’s a lot you don’t take into account when you are coming off of surgery. You’ve got to rehab and strengthen so personally it was great to get back out there with my teammates. It was just individual period. The next step will be to try to get some team reps at some point here soon. It was just really exciting to have a jersey on and feel like I was part of the team again."

Since Long is not on the active roster he did not appear on Wednesday's injury report.

Here's a list of those who did:

Did not participate: CB Marcus Roberson (ankle), LB Daren Bates (groin), CB Lamarcus Joyner (groin), WR Damian Williams (hamstring), DE William Hayes (fibula), LB James Laurinaitis (foot).

Limited participation: LB Will Herring (foot).