Running back Jackson latest Rams starter to miss time with injury

9/24/2007 - NFL Steven Jackson St. Louis Rams + more

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson will
miss at least one week with a partial tear of his left groin, an
injury sustained in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 24-3 loss at
Tampa Bay.

Rookie Brian Leonard, a second-round pick from Rutgers, will get
his first start Sunday at Dallas. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson
was hopeful Jackson would be out only one game.

"He's one of our best players, if not the best player,"
Olson said. "As we tell our players,
anytime someone gets injured the rest of us have to pick up the

"We'll find a way to spread the ball around."

The 0-3 Rams learned they lost Jackson a day after guard Mark Setterstrom was lost for the season with a torn left knee ligament
and cartilage damage. Setterstrom is the second lineman the Rams
have lost this season, after seven-time Pro Bowl tackle Orlando Pace sustained a season-ending shoulder injury in the opener.

The Rams were in conservative mode against the Buccaneers,
intent on protecting quarterback Marc Bulger. Olson disclosed
Monday that Bulger was playing with two broken ribs, an injury
likely sustained in the opener when he was sacked six times.

Bulger also played Sunday wearing a sleeve to protect a bruised

"We wanted to keep Marc clean and keep him healthy and limit
the shots he was taking," Olson said. "Your margin for error is
small when you play it that way."

Coach Scott Linehan said Jackson, who had 115 yards on 30
carries, was hurt making a cut. He said Jackson stayed in the game
for a while after being hurt but said it was "noticeable" that
Jackson was injured.

Last year, Jackson led the NFL with 2,334 yards rushing and
receiving. He had been held to 118 yards rushing and four catches
for 39 yards the first two weeks, enjoying his first productive day
of the year before being hurt.

Leonard made his first four carries of the season on Sunday,
gaining 21 yards, and had one reception for 6 yards. He has six
catches for 41 yards on the year.

The Rams gave Leonard a lot of playing time in the preseason
while conserving Jackson for the regular season. Leonard expanded
his duties to fullback after the Rams released Madison Hedgecock
before the opener.

"We think he'll be capable of taking over that role in Steven's
absence, hopefully for just a game," Olson said.

Setterstrom is the latest loss to a banged-up offensive line.
Along with Pace, guard Richie Incognito is still out with a high
ankle sprain sustained in the preseason.

Linehan said he thought Incognito would be questionable again
this week.

Setterstrom rose through the ranks after being taken in the
seventh-round of the 2006 draft, the 242nd overall selection. He
was inactive the first nine games before cracking the lineup due to
injuries, starting the final six weeks.

Setterstrom was carted off after he was hurt blocking on Jeff Wilkins' 25-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. Linehan said an
MRI exam revealed torn cartilage along with the torn ligament.

"He's a young guy and should be able to bounce back from this
next season," Linehan said. "We'll be looking at some replacement
possibilities in the next 24 to 48 hours."