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NFL Arizona Cardinals

Steven Jackson is Ram Tough

St. Louis Rams Steven Jackson runs into the Carolina Panthers defense with his bandaged left hand in the fourth quarter at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis on October 31, 2010. St. Louis won the game 20-10.  UPI/Bill Greenblatt Photo via Newscom

My apologies for the corny line, but it’s true.  SJ39 is as tough as they come in the NFL.  Steven Jackson figures he might have to play one-handed a few more weeks, even after the St. Louis Rams’ bye.  As R.B. Fallstrom for the Associated Press reports, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Last week, just six days after surgery to insert two pins into a broken left index finger, Steven Jackson carried the ball exclusively in his right hand–something is typically used to doing. Jackson had 59 yards on 23 carries against Carolina and made a one-handed grab for 4 yards. The rushing total was 1 yard above his season worst, although the 58-yard game came in only 10 carries before he hurt the groin in Week 3.

Yeah, he also persevered through a groin strain for two weeks, and made it through the final half-dozen games last season despite a back injury that kept him off the practice field and required offseason surgery.

By the numbers, Jackson is currently fourth in the NFC with 676 yards, with a 3.9-yard average and two touchdowns, and had three straight 100-yard games before last week.

“You can’t slow that guy down,” QB Sam Bradford said after the victory over Carolina. “I don’t think anything with his hand changed anything in the run game today or really anything with our game plan.”

Bradford is certainly one that understands how crucial Jackson is to the Rams’ offense.  If the Rams want to continue to roll they’ll need Jackson in their backfield, even if he’s not 100 percent.  Which by Jackson’s timetable won’t be for at least a couple more games.

The pins are scheduled to be removed in six to eight weeks, but he’s hoping he might have to play only two more games before he can use both hands again.

St. Louis is only a half-game out of first place in the NFC West, and only two wins shy of their total from the previous three seasons.  There’s no doubt it’s Jackson’s unselfish production that has been one of the factors in the Rams’ surprising 4-4 start.

“It’s very exciting,” Jackson said. “We’re always setting goals for ourselves, so this next month is going to be very important to get ourselves in a great position to be able to play in the postseason.

“It’s very, very exciting for me. It’s been a long time.”