Teammates in awe of Jackson

St. Louis running back Steven Jackson doesn’t like to talk about the broken finger on his left hand.

But his teammates and coaches are more than happy to discuss the injury and Jackson’s uncanny ability to play through it.

The Rams’ all-time leading rusher has literally played the last two games with one good hand. He amassed 148 all-purpose yards Sunday in a 23-20 overtime loss to San Francisco and has hardly missed a beat since having two pins placed in the ring finger during surgery Oct. 25.

“What he’s doing is so amazing,” said St. Louis rookie tackle Rodger Saffold. “It just makes us all want to block that much harder. No matter what happens to him — he keeps on running. That’s the kind of leader you need.”

Jackson, the 24th overall pick in the 2004 draft, broke the finger early in an 18-17 loss to Tampa Bay on Oct. 24. He thought it was just dislocated and continued to play. But X-rays after the game showed the break had a 20-minute surgical procedure the next day and never looked back.

“He didn’t think it was a big deal, he just kept right on playing,” said coach Steve Spagnuolo. “He’s a warrior.”

Jackson, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, wears a soft cast on the hand during games and plans on leaving the pins in place until the end of the season.

“The pins are adding the support that is allowing me to catch the ball and do some of the things that I’m doing on the field,” Jackson said. “The bone is healing well — had another X-ray this week, and all looks good.”

The 27-year-old Jackson said the injury has not hampered his performance and the numbers seem to agree. He recently became the Rams’ alltime rushing leader with 7,464 yards. He passed Eric Dickerson with a 110-yard effort against Tampa Bay.

In honor of Dickerson, Jackson came out in pre-game warmups the next game wearing the same old-style goggles Dickerson wore during his career, which ended in 1987. He scored the 44th rushing touchdown of his career on a 13-yard run against San Francisco that gave his club a 17-10 lead. That put him third on the list of Rams’ career rushing touchdown leaders.

Jackson also played through a painful groin injury earlier in the year and was bothered by a sore back much of last season.

His teammates are so used to seeing him play with pain that his courageous efforts are sometimes overlooked.

“Nothing ever stops him — he just keeps on going,” said wide receiver Danny Amendola.

St. Louis (4-5) will host Atlanta (7-2) on Sunday. The Rams are looking to bounce back from last week’s overtime road loss to San Francisco. On three previous occasions this year, they have followed up a road loss with an impressive home triumph.

Jackson feels the Rams could have a winning record with a few breaks along the way. He said they have been competitive in eight of nine games this season. Four losses have been by a combined 10 points.

“The teams that are winning, the teams with 7-2 records, they’re winning the games we are not,” said Jackson. “We’re going to find a way to turn those games into wins.”

Notes:The Rams announced Sunday’s contest is a sellout and will be televised locally. ... St. Louis is healthy, all 53 players participated in practice Thursday. ... St. Louis is looking for its fifth straight home win. The last time the Rams won five straight home games was 2003.


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