Rodger Saffold was pleased to be part of the St. Louis Rams' traveling party to London — until the game began.
"I was like so happy that Coach (Jeff Fisher) let me come even though I was injured," Saffold said Wednesday. "And then afterward I'm like 'Why did he do this?' Standing out there on that field in the rain."
And watching the Rams get whipped 45-7 by the Patriots.
Earlier in his rehab, Saffold was hobbling around on crutches.
"I think I burned those crutches," Saffold joked. "I burned them to the ground."
Maybe this week, the offensive tackle can be more than a spectator.
"It's always been my goal to get back on the field as fast as possible," Saffold said. "I'm just hoping this is the week."
The Rams (3-5) are getting a lot healthier on offense heading into the second half of the season, with wide receiver Danny Amendola also expected back from injury and center Scott Wells returning to practice for the first time since the opener.
That's good news for a unit returning from its bye week anxious to top its seven-point output in a wipeout loss to the Patriots at Wembley — and just in time for a stiff test at San Francisco, which is allowing an NFL-low 12.9 points a game and is No. 2 in total defense at 271 yards per game.
"I don't know if I would say anxious," quarterback Sam Bradford said. "Anytime you get to play a defense like this, it really kind of allows yourself to see where you're at.
"We know we need a great week of preparation if we're going to go out and succeed on Sunday."
The Rams, who have lost three in a row, realize they've got to minimize mistakes and maximize opportunities.
"You've just got to make the plays," Fisher said. "You've got to make individual efforts, you've got to win individual battles.
"We have to attack their defense with a team concept, but it comes down to individual players have to make plays."
Amendola remains the team leader with 32 receptions and 395 yards even after missing three games with a collarbone injury sustained while attempting a diving catch Sept. 30 against Seattle. Saffold has missed six games with a third-degree right MCL strain and Wells broke his left foot in the opener.
Amendola stayed in St. Louis during the players' four-day break to continue rehab. He "absolutely" expects to be available for punt return duty as well.
"I'm practicing full-go and we'll see how it goes," Amendola said. "I'm feeling great. It's just a matter of being able to withstand a hit and blocking and stuff, but I'm feeling stronger every day."
Saffold anticipated an increase in workload throughout the practice week and more testing on game day before he'd get the go-ahead. He wore a brace before the injury, which protected him from ACL damage.
"It just reminds you how violent this game is. You get hit, you get hit hard," Saffold said. "You want to give out the hit, you don't want to take it."
Wells has barely seen the field since signing a four-year, $24 million free agent deal in the offseason, missing time with a right knee injury and then requiring surgery for a broken left foot sustained in the opener. The Rams have a three-week roster exemption for Wells, who is eligible to play immediately under the new injured reserve role that allows teams to activate one player for Week 9.
"It's the longest I've ever had to wait and sit out, so it's exciting to be able to go out there and take a step in the right direction," Wells said.
Robert Turner, envisioned as a utilityman on the line when he signed, has played well as the stand-in center.
But Fisher pulled no punches when asked what he could realistically hope to get from Wells after he's been sidelined so long. Wells missed the first two preseason games recovering from the knee injury.
Fisher anticipated Wells would "step in and be our starter. He'd be the guy we brought in here to take over and control everything up front."
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