Rams’ Amendola puts freak injury behind him

Experiencing the play that ruined his 2011 season was plenty for

Danny Amendola. The St. Louis Rams wide receiver has never watched

video of his freak injury, saying all that matters is he is

back.

Amendola was Sam Bradford’s go-to possession guy in 2010 with 85

receptions. He was durable, too, especially given the fact he is

5-11 and 188 pounds. Amendola played in all 16 games and totaled 90

kickoff and punt returns.

He didn’t make it out of the 2011 opener. Amendola put his left

hand to the turf while making a cut against the Eagles and

dislocated his left elbow. Slow motion replays showed the elbow

hyperextending severely.

”I’ve never seen it, I don’t even care. The words don’t haunt

me, either,” Amendola told the Associated Press. ”Injuries are

part of the game and that’s the way it goes sometimes.

”It’s all right, it’s all good. I’m back.”

The Rams (No. 28 in AP Pro 32) worked out in 102-degree heat

into early Tuesday evening with no issues, heading into a light day

with an hour-long special teams practice in pads Wednesday. The

first full-pad, full-squad practice is Thursday.

”You put the pads on, get some contact, that’s what it’s all

about,” cornerback Cortland Finnegan said. ”It’ll definitely

separate the men from the boys.”

Fisher said players are weighed before and after each practice

to make sure they are replacing fluids. He said the effort was

”outstanding.”

”We’re an air-conditioned society now, OK,” Fisher said. ”In

the old days we spent summertime outside, and some of the older

ones knew when we got in trouble Mom said, `Go to your room.’ They

say that now, you go, `Yeah, cool, we’ve got all kinds of stuff to

do in the room.

”Moms need to say go outside, I guess.”

Amendola was having a typical game before the injury, with five

catches for 45 yards. He tried rehab for a month, then tried a

sturdier brace before going on injured reserve in October.

Now it is all behind him.

”I’m back to 100 percent. As strong as I’ve ever been,”

Amendola said after the second day of training camp. ”No

complaints.”

Fisher said Amendola looks like he did pre-injury.

”He’s got really no issues,” Fisher said. ”He was doing well

prior to this break in the summer and he’s running good, he’s

catching good and right now he’s clearly on the same page with

Sam.”

The 26-year-old Amendola isn’t concerned about winning a job in

a more crowded field of candidates. Brandon Lloyd left in free

agency, but the Rams drafted wide receiver Brian Quick in the

second round and Chris Givens in the fourth, and signed veteran

free agent Steve Smith, who is coming off a serious knee

injury.

Among the holdovers from the Steve Spagnuolo regime are Brandon

Gibson (36 catches), often-injured but intriguing deep threat

Danario Alexander, and second-year players Greg Salas and Austin

Pettis. Pettis is suspended for the first four games for violating

the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances.

”It’s cool, it’s what football’s all about, I guess,” Amendola

said. ”We’re getting better. Our room is as good as I’ve seen

it.”

The undersized Amendola cracked the NFL the hard way after a

productive career at Texas Tech, spending the 2008 season on the

Dallas Cowboys practice squad and the start of ’09 on the

Philadelphia Eagles practice squad before the Rams picked him

up.

Given that, absorbing a fifth offensive system in parts of four

seasons with Brian Schottenheimer now making the calls is not such

a big deal.

Amendola described the West Coast style offense as a mix of

everything he has experienced in the NFL. He said he has picked up

more since Schottenheimer came aboard earlier this year than he did

the rest of his career.

”Every offense has a lot of similarities, you’ve just got to

learn the verbiage and whatnot,” Amendola said. ”It’s intricate,

but we’re up here all day long working on it, so we’re

learning.”

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Follow R.B. Fallstrom at (at)rbfallstromAP.