Rams' Bradford not optimistic about facing Bengals

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If Wednesday had been game day, Sam Bradford said he would not have been able to play. He didn't seem at all optimistic that a few more days would help, either.

The St. Louis Rams quarterback played in Monday night's loss at Seattle after missing the previous game because of a persistent high left ankle sprain. With a short week and a very sore ankle, he believes it'll be a challenge to get ready for Sunday's home game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

One telling sign: For the first time in several weeks, Bradford is back in a walking boot.

''I will say it is becoming more and more frustrating to go out there and play and then after the game feel like I've been set back and feel like we've gone back,'' Bradford said after sitting out practice Wednesday.

''I think if it feels good enough Friday to get out there and test it, I'm sure we will just see where we're at. But if it doesn't, I don't think we're going to push it and set it back again.''

Coach Steve Spagnuolo seemed pessimistic about Bradford's chances.

''But we'll see,'' Spagnuolo said. ''He's a tough guy, so he's trying.''

Kellen Clemens, who was signed last week and will likely start if Bradford can't go, got in some extra work after Wednesday's practice. Backup A.J. Feeley remains sidelined with a fractured right thumb and has only limited mobility after missing Monday night's loss.

''I feel prepared,'' Clemens said. ''It's a short week, which doesn't help, but I'm going to get three practices this week instead of two so I think by Sunday afternoon I should be ready to go.''

Clemens appeared close to playing Monday night after Bradford took a hard hit on a failed flea-flicker during the Rams' third play, hitting his helmet on the turf. While doctors were checking out Bradford, Clemens was warming up on the sideline.

But Clemens said he was just staying loose on a cold night.

When Bradford returned after missing Games 6 and 7, it was easier to recover. He believes the setback is from general wear and tear rather than a specific instance.

''When I came back the first time I was able to make it through those first three or four games without going backwards,'' Bradford said. ''It got better each week, it wasn't sore after the game.''

Bradford said the injury has compromised his mechanics and put more stress on his arm. He was just 12 for 29 for 193 yards with an interception and no touchdowns against the Seahawks.

''It's not easy to come through and fully torque and get everything I have into it,'' Bradford said. ''I'm not sure if it reduces arm strength, it just kind of limits your ability to put your entire body into throws at times.''

The Rams lost another player, placing fullback Britt Miller on injured reserve with cartilage damage to his right knee, and re-signed cornerback Nate Ness. Miller has been most valuable on special teams, and had three receptions for 41 yards and five carries for 14 yards.

Miller did not make the trip for the Seattle game.

''It was a long night talking to my family, and that seemed to be the best way to go about this thing,'' Miller said. ''Steven Jackson always makes you look a little better than you are, so that helps.

''To be out here in kind of a tough season, I really wanted to finish with my teammates.''

Ness rejoined the team eight days after getting waived. He was first signed to the practice squad in October, and first elevated to the roster Nov. 16.

Notes: Neither of the Rams' defensive ends practiced Wednesday. James Hall has a chest injury and Chris Long has been playing the last few weeks without practicing to protect an ankle sprain. Long is among the league leaders with a career-best 12 sacks. ''At least we've been able to get him to the games, which is huge,'' Spagnuolo said. ... S Craig Dahl (right ankle), CB Josh Gordy (abdomen), OT Mark LeVoir (groin), DE Eugene Sims (ankle) and TE Stephen Spach (concussion) also did not practice.

Tagged: Rams, Kellen Clemens, Chris Long, Sam Bradford

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