EARTH CITY, Mo. -- The pre-training camp news that St. Louis Rams rookie running back Todd Gurley would begin camp on the active roster was met with plenty of optimism that he'd be back breaking tackles and scoring touchdowns in short order.
But perhaps nobody knows better than the Rams that what amounts to rehab progress one day can quickly turn into a painful setback. That's especially true when it comes to anterior cruciate ligaments.
It was just a year ago that the Rams were singing the praises of quarterback Sam Bradford and left tackle Jake Long in their respective recoveries from torn ACLs. Bradford went on to re-tear his ACL in the third preseason game. Long made it almost halfway through the season before re-injuring his knee.
So even if they stick to the usual platitudes about every injury being different, the lessons of the past are hard to ignore.
"Our approach with Todd is just that it’s a common sense, medical approach," coach Jeff Fisher said. "That includes everybody. We’re going to take care of Todd and get him ready to play. All of those decisions are based on information and progress and his commitment and where we think he is, not where I think he is from a head coach’s standpoint, but collectively from (director of sports medicine and performance) Reggie (Scott) and through the doctors and everybody.”
The Rams are not yet a full week into this training camp, but so far Gurley's practice routine has remained mostly static. He's participated in individual drills, worked with the team in walk-throughs and attended meetings.
"It’s frustrating, because you know, you just feel like you can go or you know you just feel like you can do much more than the trainers or the coaches are giving you," Gurley said. "But, they are just trying to protect you and they’ve been through this, they have years of experience. So, no need to rush it."
So far, at least, Gurley is remaining patient, though Fisher expects there to come a time when Gurley begins campaigning to do more and push the envelope.
"That’ll become a problem eventually I’m quite sure," Fisher said.
For now, Gurley and the Rams are sticking to the plan.