Rams writer Jim Thomas reported earlier today that running back Steven Jackson had a minor procedure on his back to repair a herniated disk in April. Coach Spags said that the injury is nothing to worry about and that Jackson will be ready to go by training camp, but I must admit that I’m a bit concerned. It’s not like Steven has been immune to injury during his career, and with the beating he takes week in and week out, I could see this being a potential problem. Regardless of who starts at quarterback, the team will need Jackson to be a workhorse again this year, and considering he is our one effective threat on offense, any back injury is of concern. It isn’t time to freak out, but I will certainly be watching him very closely when camp kicks off this summer.
The biggest concern I have with this news is that we have no viable options behind Steven on the roster right now. If he does miss time, I don’t think Kenneth Darby and Chris Ogbonnaya are good enough to keep the team competitive. I said yesterday that I like rookie Keith Toston, but I highly doubt he will be ready or able to carry a full load if something were to happen to Jackson. Brian Westbrook is still an option, but he is still considering his options for next season. This may be nothing to worry about, but it should at least be a wake-up call to management that they need to upgrade the talent at running back behind Jackson. He can’t do it alone, and it is pretty obvious that he needs someone else who is capable of taking some snaps while still being productive in the offense. It’s not a surprise that he is having back problems considering he has been carrying this team by himself for a couple of years. Someone else needs to step up and take some of the weight off Steven’s shoulders.