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Rams QB Sam Bradford out for season with torn ACL

Monday, 21 October 2013 22:15 Published in Sports

 

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Sam Bradford is done for the season, and the chances on this being the year the St. Louis Rams post their first winning season in a decade changed dramatically.

They insist the season is far from over.

Coach Jeff Fisher told players to keep their chins up on Monday, referencing a book by an inspirational speaker as a rallying point for the final nine games.

"We're going to see a lot of people step up," defensive end Chris Long said. "And we're going to see a lot of people step up that you might not expect."

One of them needs to be Kellen Clemens, who'll be making his 13th career start in eight seasons next Monday night against the Seahawks.

Clemens has been the backup the past two years and was with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer with the Jets, too, so he knows the scheme.

Plus, he's the only other quarterback on the roster.

"Somebody's got to play," Clemens said. "So I'll go out there and do the best job I can and try to help this team win some games," Clemens said.

Bradford will have season-ending surgery for a torn ligament in his left knee after getting hurt in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 30-15 loss at Carolina that dropped the Rams to 3-4.

The Rams feared the worst on the return flight and on Monday announced results of an MRI.

Surgery will be done in the next 2-3 weeks once the swelling goes down and Fisher was confident Bradford would make a complete recovery in time for next season.

"Very disappointing," middle linebacker James Laurinaitis said. "I thought he was putting up a strong season. It's a long grind now for him."

The Rams will be auditioning quarterbacks this week but Fisher said they won't make a trade, which means Clemens is likely set for his first extended opportunity since he made eight starts in 2007 for the Jets.

At his regular day-after news conference, Fisher did his best to dismiss all rumors and said he wasn't "at liberty" to discuss any names. One potential name is Austin Davis, released at the end of training camp.

"There's a lot of speculation out there, everybody's talking and everybody knows more than we do right now OK?" Fisher said. "Trust me, we have a process in place and we're going through that process."

Clemens pointed out the coincidence that his first game with the Rams was a Monday night loss at Seattle in December 2011, days after signing a free agent deal. He did not play against the Seahawks but then started the final three games of a 2-14 season, all losses.

"It's a different team, it's a different set of opponents, different everything," Clemens said. "I am excited for the opportunity."

Bradford tore his anterior cruciate ligament when he landed on his knee after being shoved out of bounds by safety Mike Mitchell. Teammates feared the worst once they saw him carted off the field and on crutches in the locker room.

Bradford has 14 touchdown passes and just four interceptions this season. Still, he has his detractors, critics who insist he has not measured up to the billing of a No. 1 overall pick.

"He was playing very, very well, not only yesterday but was just improving weekly," Fisher said. "The challenge is obvious in this world when you have an impact player go down.

"He was off to a great start, so it's unfortunate but he'll be back. He's our quarterback."

In his fourth season out of Oklahoma, Bradford has been nudging his way up the ladder, among the top half of the league's best quarterbacks. He's been taking charge and minimizing mistakes - exactly what the youngest team in the NFL needed.

Bradford threw for 255 yards and a score Sunday, with one interception and two sacks. He has thrown a touchdown pass in 11 consecutive games. St. Louis had won its previous two games, with Bradford throwing three TD passes in each.

Bradford is no stranger to injuries. He missed six games with a high left ankle sprain in 2011. He had season-ending shoulder surgery in 2009 when he was at Oklahoma.

Average retail gasoline prices in St. Louis rose nearly 6 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.13 per gallon of regular on Sunday.  

This is according to GasBuddy.com's daily survey in St. Louis. The national average has fallen a penny per gallon in the last week to $3.36.  

The St. Louis prices yesterday were over 15 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and about ten cents per gallon lower than a month ago.

The national average is nearly 14 cents per gallon lower than last month and 31 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago. 

Handful of Cardinals remain from '11 Series

Sunday, 20 October 2013 22:32 Published in Sports

 

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Rosters turn over so quickly these days, the St. Louis Cardinals used only seven players from their 2011 World Series roster in this year's NL championship series.

The NL champions got contributions from 20 rookies this season, many in starring roles on a team that led the NL with 97 wins and then reached the World Series for the second time in three years.

General manager John Mozeliak sees little commonalities, pointing out the '11 team sneaked into the postseason as the second wild card and this year's team that until now has had the home-field advantage.

"The good story line is you've got two teams that have the best records in the game matching up in the World Series," Mozeliak said. "And I think that's nice. A lot of times, that doesn't work out."

Lance Lynn is the only pitcher left from two years ago, joined against the Dodgers by position players Yadier Molina, Matt Carpenter, Daniel Descalso, David Freese, Matt Holliday and Jon Jay. Cleanup man Allen Craig, sidelined by a foot injury since early September, is expected to join them in the Series and would open as the DH.

The first time Craig would have to play first base is Game 3 Friday in St. Louis, and everyone's optimistic especially given those extra rehab days. Craig's .454 average with runners in scoring position led the majors, and aside from the Cardinals' clinching 9-0 rout of the Dodgers in Game 6 of the NLCS, the offense has struggled without him.

"He could be the difference," Molina said. "I'm happy to have him back."

When the Cardinals were swept by Boston in the 2004 Series, Michael Wacha and Trevor Rosenthal were in middle school.

Wacha was a first-round selection in June 2012 - the Cardinals' compensation pick for losing Albert Pujols to the Angels in free agency - scaled the system quickly and has been phenomenal in the postseason at 3-0 with an 0.43 ERA. He's been to Fenway Park once before, as a sophomore at Texas A&M playing for a college all-star team but didn't play.

"It's unbelievable, just the history," Wacha said. "It's Fenway, it's an amazing ballpark and I just really look forward to getting to play there."

St. Louis worked out Sunday after a day off to savor the NL pennant. They leave for Boston on Tuesday, and just a handful have firsthand experience of the ill-fated 105-win team that got swept by the Red Sox.

"That was one of the toughest experiences in my baseball career," said manager Mike Matheny, who shared catching duties with Molina that year. "You don't forget that."

Matheny said the feeling was similar to the nausea he felt as a rookie manager in the 2012 postseason when the Cardinals took a 3-1 NLCS lead over the Giants and then got walloped three straight times, in his words "getting our lunch handed to us."

"It's a lot like what happened last year as we were standing in the rain watching San Francisco celebrate," Matheny said. "Could we have done anything different? I don't know. But it sure left a sharp bite."

Ace Chris Carpenter was sidelined before that postseason with the first occurrence of a nerve injury that knocked him out all of this season. Carpenter still suits up but in a ceremonial role as a de facto bench coach.

Mozeliak was assistant GM under Walt Jocketty in `04 and remembered everything seeming rushed. The Cardinals beat the Astros in the NLCS, took batting practice at Fenway the next afternoon and then took the first of four lumps.

Off the field, manager Tony La Russa took issue with distant lodging and the "bar food" offered when they arrived at the hotel.

Molina was a 21-year-old rookie in 2004. This year, he's in the conversation for MVP.

"Back then I was just a kid trying to learn," Molina said. "I have a lot more experience."

Carpenter is among four players from '11 that are still with the team but won't be on the roster. Shortstop Rafael Furcal (elbow) also has been out the entire season, Jaime Garcia is rehabbing from midseason shoulder surgery and Jake Westbrook was rarely used the final month coming off elbow and back woes.

Putting Craig on the roster could come at the expense of rookie Kolten Wong, one of the team's top prospects and the likely second baseman of the future.

"We don't have that many extra guys around here that we'd be jostling around what our roster's going to look like," Matheny said.

Matheny announced Adam Wainwright, a 19-game winner who was injured in 2011, and Wacha as the starting pitchers for Games 1 and 2, but didn't go further. Joe Kelly and Lynn are likely to go in Games 3 and 4, given Mozeliak anticipates rookie 15-game winner Shelby Miller will stay in the bullpen for emergency long relief duty.

Miller has pitched just one inning in the postseason and threw to Craig on Sunday.

 

"I think right now where he's at, I think he'll still be probably used as insurance," Mozeliak said.

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