Danny Amendola was key to the St. Louis Rams' tie game against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday in his first game back from injury. In fact—I'm sorry about this, fantasy football owners—he just missed winning it for them.
The St. Louis Rams got some good news Tuesday when Danny Amendola participated, as expected, in their first practice after the bye week. After a bye week and a surprise "questionable" label prior to Week 9 vs. the New England Patriots this is the latest in the teetering stack of circumstantial evidence suggesting the Rams' top receiver will play Sunday; Howard Balzer got a typically optimistic Amendola quote afterward:
After brief practice back from the bye, Rams WR Danny Amendola says: "I feel good. I feel ready to play."
For all that, of course, Jeff Fisher will wait until the last possible minute to say he's ready to go; that's just what Jeff Fisher does. We'll be surprised, personally, if he even confirms Amendola is still alive in the last press conference before gameday.
In hindsight, the bye week was probably timed perfectly—nobody wants to rush Danny Amendola back before he's ready, but the 41 points the Rams scored in the three games he's missed have made his return even more important than we expected it to be. Despite missing most of the last four games—almost half the season—he still leads Rams receivers in catches, yardage, and touchdowns.
Things were still nebulous Friday morning, but as the dust settles over the St. Louis Rams' big win over the Arizona Cardinals and the Thursday Night Football set is packed up and driven away, Danny Amendola's apparent collarbone injury has started to sink in. Back in 2011 a Danny Amendola injury—well, it probably didn't cause the Rams' astonishing offensive dysfunction, but it was certainly the earliest sign of it. If it's a broken collarbone, Amendola could miss up to six weeks.
If you're not willing to accept that yet—well, Turf Show Times has some possibly good news. Jim Thomas of the Post-Dispatch tweeted Thursday night that the Rams were bringing Amendola back in for further tests on Friday, and it sounds like a broken collarbone isn't the only possible outcome. If that's the case, the Rams—who already just missed a season-ending neck injury to Rodger Saffold—could have dodged another bullet.
If that's not the case—and thus far the slim evidence and piles of conjecture suggest a broken collarbone is the most likely scenario—the Rams are going to have to hope that Steve Smith can finally make an impact, or at least make the active roster.
The St. Louis Rams have a 10-3 lead midway through the second quarter of their Thursday Night Football matchup with the Arizona Cardinals, but that lead could look mighty pyrrhic if Danny Amendola's injury turns out to be serious. The Rams' leading receiver injured his shoulder on a 22-yard reception that was eventually reversed on a challenge; he stayed on the field to watch the replay but was taken back to the locker room immediately after the announcement was made.
Amendola landed hard on his shoulders trying to make the play, and didn't look seriously injured at first. But he appeared to have trouble moving it on the sidelines while he was still on the field, and he was clearly concerned right away.
Early word is that Amendola's return is questionable, which is bad news in the near-term for the St. Louis Rams' inconsistent but increasingly exciting passing game. After Sam Bradford's brilliant start Thursday—with Amendola's spectacular catch at its center—the Rams' offense has been completely invisible against the Cardinals, with Steven Jackson limited and Bradford unable to quite find his receivers. The 2011 Rams' problems extended far wider than their Week 1 loss of Danny Amendola, but there's no doubt that's on fans' mind as Bradford's favorite receiver gets checked out again.