ST. LOUIS (AP) Danny Amendola was pretty much a decoy last week, limited by a heel injury. The St. Louis Rams’ leading wide receiver was back in a walking boot Wednesday and watching at practice.
Though he limped to the locker room, Amendola, who has 51 catches and an 11.3-yard average, was optimistic about playing Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. He was on the field for just seven snaps in last week’s victory at Arizona, with one reception for 38 yards.
“I guess we’ll see,” Amendola told the Associated Press. “It’s getting better each and every day, so it’s just a matter of how I feel at the end of the week.
“I’d like to say I’m optimistic. I always say I’m optimistic.”
Amendola says he was injured when a defensive player fell on his right leg near the goal line two weeks ago against the Jets. He aggravated the injury making a cut near the end of the first half of that game and was a surprise starter against the Cardinals after being listed as doubtful.
Coach Jeff Fisher said Amendola convinced him and the medical staff in a pre-game workout that he could play. Amendola did not play in the second half.
“It was a group decision,” Amendola said. “I didn’t get a whole lot of reps but the more I could find a role to help in any way, that was what I was trying to do.”
Center Scott Wells also did not practice Wednesday, likely helping him ease back into the routine. Wells made his first start last week since breaking his left foot in the opener.
Running back Steven Jackson (foot), defensive end Robert Quinn (concussion) and linebacker Mario Haggan (elbow) also did not practice. Like Wells, Jackson was likely just getting a break.
Wells’ return strengthened the Rams at two spots with Robert Turner, the stand-in center while Wells was out, moving to left guard. The Rams had a season-best 173 yards rushing with a 5.1-yard average against the Cardinals, including a season-best 139 yards on 24 carries from Jackson.
“I thought they were really good,” quarterback Sam Bradford said. “I think it’s a credit to them because they haven’t been together for long.
“When you’ve got that original group out there, it’s just a little extra, I guess.”
Bradford was more of a facilitator last week, going 8 for 17 for 205 yards and two touchdowns with an interception. He didn’t pass much in the first meeting against Arizona, either, finishing 7 for 21 for 141 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
Prior to last week, Bradford threw at least 30 passes in four consecutive games, including 44 against the Jets.
Rookie Chris Givens stepped up in Amendola’s absence with five catches for a career-best 115 yards and a 37-yard score. Givens is the fastest player on the team and was one of the fastest in this year’s draft class. Bradford believes the fourth-round pick out of Wake Forest can be among the league’s “elite receivers.”
“I don’t think there is a ceiling for him, I think he can be as good as he wants to be,” Bradford said. “He can stretch a defense. We can also throw him a quick screen pass and he can turn that into a big play, too.”
Fisher wasn’t surprised that the 49ers announced Colin Kaepernick as their starting quarterback ahead of Alex Smith. Earlier in the week, Fisher said on his radio show that he’d be surprised if Kaepernick did not get the nod.
“When he’s in the game, you have to be ready for a slightly different offense,” Fisher said. “We’re going to do the same thing as we did the first time around, prepare for both of them.”