7-on-7: Updates on Jackson, Rice, Best, PT, AJ injuries

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OK, that was a brutal NFL weekend, injury wise. Let's just forgo the usual recap of the Sunday nighter. (Abbreviated version: Keller and Marshall went crazy; LaDainian > Shonn). Instead, we'll investigate the crash scene from Week 3…

Rams running back Steven Jackson suffered a groin injury on Sunday, and an MRI is scheduled to evaluate the damage. Team medical officials suspect it's a pulled muscle, not a significant tear. Here's the early word from the player himself, via the Post-Dispatch:

"All the signs kind of say that it's not a tear," Jackson said after the Rams' 30-16 victory. "But you never know until the MRI. I'm just praying and hoping that it's not going to be a serious injury, and that I'll be able to come back and not have to sit out a long time."

The paper also reports that the Rams recently contacted Larry Johnson(notes), who was cut by Washington last week. For now, Kenneth Darby(notes) is Plan B in St. Louis. He carried 14 times for 49 yards and one TD in Week 3, in relief of Jackson. Darby isn't likely to deliver a decent S-Jax impression, but it's worth noting that the schedule ahead is relatively friendly: vs. Seattle in Week 4, at Detroit in Week 5.

Detroit's Jahvid Best(notes) reportedly has a sprained big toe. In his postgame comments, the rookie described the injury as "totally new." It's apparently not related in any way to his toe issues earlier in the season. Maurice Morris(notes) had six carries for five yards against Minnesota on Sunday, and he added five receptions for 36. If Best can't play in Week 4, you don't want any part of the Lions' running game. They're facing Green Bay, a team that led the NFL in rushing defense a year ago.

Even if Best returns to the field quickly, you have to downgrade any back who's dealing with a toe injury — particularly a speed/shiftiness/change-of-direction player like Jahvid.

Ray Rice(notes) doesn't want to miss the MRI party, no sir. He's headed for the machine today after injuring a knee against Cleveland. Rice reportedly walked with "a slight limp" after the game. According to Ravens coach John Harbaugh, ligament damage is not suspected. Nonetheless, Willis McGahee(notes) should really be rostered in more leagues; he's still getting goal-to-go work, even when Rice is available.

Andre Johnson(notes) aggravated his ankle injury in the loss to Dallas, but he managed to return to the game, just as he did in Week 2. These were his postgame comments, via the Houston Chronicle:

"I felt pain when I got tackled today. That's the only reason I came off the field. Doctor checked it out and told me I hadn't done anything worse to it. I'm going to feel pain every time I get hit on it if I continue to play. I have to come out for a few plays until it goes away. That's what I'm going to continue to do until it gets better."

He doesn't sound like a man who intends to sit, but you never know. According to the team's website, the injury is actually a high ankle sprain. Not good. But whatever this thing is, AJ seems determined to play with it.

The injury sustained by Pierre Thomas near the end of the fourth quarter was apparently to his ankle. The location of the injury was unclear at the time, but PT was obviously in pain. Still, he managed to leave the field without assistance, and he even returned in overtime. Perhaps the bigger disappointment for Thomas owners is the fact that he only received 15 touches against Atlanta, even with Reggie Bush(notes) sidelined. Undrafted rookie Christopher Ivory(notes) had seven carries for the Saints, mostly in short-yardage. You seriously have to stop asking Sean Payton to turn PT into a workhorse. It ain't happenin'. You must have Payton confused with a coach who wants to be predictable.

Here's another piece of distressing Saints news: Garrett Hartley's(notes) job is in jeopardy. Severe jeopardy. He's a problem. The New Orleans kicker has now missed three field goal attempts in three games, including a 29-yarder in overtime against Atlanta that obviously should have been a tap-in. (If the Saints show him the door, I'm prepared to offer Garrett a position here at Roto Arcade. Unpaid. Kind of an internship. Perhaps more like a 19th Century apprenticeship. Look me up, kid).

And now, it's my great pleasure to present the best Rams Report Card anyone has seen in years. High marks for nearly everyone, mostly Bs and C+s. Fine improvement. Talented underachievers, they are.

Bonus link: According to NFL Network's Jason La Canfora, the Niners have fired offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye. When you're a winless team that's averaging just 12.7 points per game, these things happen. No truth to the rumor that Yahoo!'s Jason Cole will take over play-calling duties for Mike Singletary's squad. Although that would be awesome.

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Photo via AP Images