|National Football League|
Rams' Amendola puts freak injury behind him
By R.B. FALLSTROM
ST. LOUIS (AP) 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."
Online: http://bigstory.ap.org/NFL-Pro32 and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL
Follow R.B. Fallstrom at (at)rbfallstromAP.
Updated July 31, 2012