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Faulk Could Miss a Month
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Old 22 Sep 2003, 03:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Faulk Could Miss a Month

Sunday, September 21, 2003


By John Clayton
ESPN.com

SEATTLE -- Everyone knows the Rams offense revolves around Marshall Faulk. But in recent years, St. Louis has been forced to operate without Faulk for a couple games because of injuries.

In the third quarter of Sunday's 24-23 loss to the Seahawks, Faulk fractured the fourth metacarpal of his left hand, an injury that should sideline him a couple of weeks. Or at least, the Rams believe the hand is broken. Things were so bad for the Rams on Sunday that the X-ray machine wasn't working, so the formal X-ray was delayed until the team's return to St. Louis.

The St. Louis Dispatch reported late Sunday that Faulk also had fractured his fifth metacarpal and was expected to miss three-to-four weeks. Faulk will be examined today by a hand specialist in St. Louis to determine if surgery is necessary, according to the report.

Regardless, Faulk's hand was placed in a cast and his status for the next few weeks is uncertain. Once again, though, the Rams have to survive without Faulk, and they have to bounce back from a 1-2 start.

"I don't know the extent of Marshall's injury," Rams coach Mike Martz said."We think it might be a broken hand."

The irony of losing Faulk is that Martz was doing what critics have been suggesting since their Super Bowl loss to the Patriots two years ago. Martz was running Faulk. Of the Rams 34 first-half plays, 14 of them were runs. It enabled the Rams to hold a first-half lead and quarterback Marc Bulger to complete 12 of his first 15 passes and have a first-half quarterback rating of 126.4.

Faulk broke his hand in the third quarter and changed the complexion of the game.

Once again, the Rams offense has to adjust without Faulk. What the Rams wouldn't do was use the loss of Faulk as a reason for blowing a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter.

"We may not be able to do as much without Marshall, but the one fortunate thing from last year was that Lamar Gordon got a lot of playing time," Bulger said. "Lamar is a good north-south runner. If there is anything to get, he's going to get it. And he's gotten a lot better running routes."

But Gordon is no Marshall Faulk.

"The Rams are a different team without Marshall," Seahawks linebacker Anthony Simmons said. "It takes a few things away from them. Marshall is an outstanding receiver and runner. He's a double threat. Without him, it takes a little away from their offense."

Gordon ran well against the Seahawks. To gain more playing time this summer, Gordon agreed to be Faulk's fullback. The 2002 third-round pick from North Dakota State rushed for 228 yards on 65 carries as a rookie. He caught 30 passes for 278 yards and scored three touchdowns.

Until Faulk returns, Gordon has to do everything, and the Rams must find a fullback to help him.

The problem facing the Rams is that they are losing weapons. That showed in the fourth quarter.

Instead of throwing to Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce, Bulger was throwing to tight end Brandon Manumaleuna and wide receiver Dane Looker. The Rams no longer have Ernie Conwell, Az-Zahir Hakim or Ricky Proehl as options.

"I felt bad that (Faulk) was hurt," Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said. "But I also felt a little relief that we didn't' have to deal with him. I think he's an awesome player."

John Clayton is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.

------------------------

Great, there goes my fantasy back. Even though he wasn't playing that well it's still gonna fuck me.
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Old 22 Sep 2003, 04:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Well this isn't good for the Rams. It looks like 2002 all over again...
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Old 22 Sep 2003, 10:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I don't think it makes much of a difference. Even if he didn't get injured the Rams were not going anywhere. All the talk in the off season about the return of the greatest show on turf was all hype in my opinion.
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Old 23 Sep 2003, 07:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Now we will be out longer. Here's the story from espn:



ST. LOUIS -- It may be November before Marshall Faulk lines up again for the St. Louis Rams.

Faulk broke bones that connect his pinkie and ring fingers to his left wrist when his hand struck a helmet early in the third quarter of Sunday's 24-23 loss at Seattle. He'll be sidelined an estimated four-to-six weeks.

This latest piece of bad news for the Rams was surpassed later Monday by a surprise announcement from coach Mike Martz, who said Faulk will have surgery to repair torn cartilage in his knee.

The surgery, scheduled for Wednesday to clean up loose bodies and smooth rough edges of the cartilage, won't cause Faulk to miss any additional time. Martz didn't even know about Faulk needing surgery until he got a phone call from doctors late Monday afternoon.

"Marshall doesn't talk about injuries, as you guys all know," Martz said Monday. "He doesn't say anything. He's the all-time tough guy.

"The knee will actually come back sooner than his hand," Martz said.

Faulk, who does not need hand surgery but will not be allowed by doctors to play wearing a soft cast, first complained of soreness in his knee during training camp. He received a clean bill of health later in camp but apparently tweaked the knee during Sunday's loss.

Second-year player Lamar Gordon, who finished the game at tailback, will start on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals (1-2).

Faulk had 15 carries for 31 yards, and one reception for 6 yards, before leaving Sunday's game. This season, Faulk has 116 yards rushing for a 2.8 average per carry with one touchdown, and 12 catches for 66 yards. He has had trouble getting outside both rushing and receiving.

That's a far cry from his NFL-record run of four consecutive seasons of 2,000 yards rushing and receiving 1998-2001.

The Rams have grown used to playing without some of their best players.

Two-time MVP Kurt Warner played in only seven games last year, and four-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle Orlando Pace missed six games with calf and hamstring injuries.

On Sunday, the Rams estimated Faulk would be out three-to-four weeks. The estimate was changed after team doctors examined the running back Monday in St. Louis.

Gordon had eight carries for 41 yards and caught four passes for 25 yards Sunday even though he had a severe headache and nausea early in the game.

"I feel very good about him," Martz said. "I feel outstanding about him after watching him on tape."

Gordon was named the starting fullback last week. Martz would not say who would play the position this Sunday, but it likely will be a combination of long snapper Chris Massey and tight end Brandon Manumaleuna.

Martz complimented Massey's blocking on Sunday after Faulk was sidelined. He's hesitant to use Massey too much in that role, though, because of his importance on special teams.

Martz said a rash of injuries will prevent the team from signing a free agent to play fullback.

"We've got 20 percent of the roster on the sideline next week," Martz said. "There's just no room to go out and get one."

The Rams also lost backup linebackers Courtland Bullard (hamstring tear) and Jamie Duncan (high ankle sprain) in the Seahawks game, although Martz was hopeful that Duncan could play this weekend. Backup fullback Dan Curley re-injured a calf muscle during warmups.

Those injuries, added to several players already sidelined, might make it difficult for the Rams to field 45 healthy players on Sunday. Martz didn't want to dwell on that, or on the Rams' 1-point loss, for too long.

"Today's mourning day," Martz said. "Mourning is over with after today, and we move on. We can have our personal pity party today, but after today that's it."
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