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PRO FOOTBALL DAILY REPORT : RAMS : Chandler Hopeful Despite Sprain

October 06, 1994|MIKE REILLEY

Quarterback Chris Chandler's sprained left ankle showed improvement Wednesday, but not enough for him to return to practice and unseat Chris Miller, who's expected to start Sunday at Green Bay.

Chandler threw in a light workout for the first time after spraining the ankle in the second quarter of an 8-5 loss to Atlanta on Sunday. But he's listed as doubtful for the Green Bay game.

"He's optimistic about it," Ram Coach Chuck Knox said. "But I don't think we'll know anything until Friday."

Knox plans to start Miller, still bothered by a pinched nerve and slight shoulder separation, over a healthy but ineffective Tommy Maddox. Miller got a little more than half the work in practice Wednesday to prepare him against a Packer pass rush that features Sean Jones and Reggie White.

Miller, who started the first three games until sidelined with injuries, threw on Tuesday and Wednesday, but most of the practice snaps went to Maddox, who needs more work to learn the offensive scheme.

"It's obviously not 100%," Miller said after practice. "It's still weak and not as strong as it should be. It's pretty sore. I'll ice it and rest it and get ready for Sunday."

Is the shoulder healthy enough for Miller to play?

"Not now, but it will be," he said.

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With Miller, tailback Jerome Bettis and fullback Tim Lester, the Rams will start a beat-up backfield Sunday.

Bettis sat out practice because he was still sore from a deep bruise in his low back. Lester limped off the practice field after mildly spraining his left ankle in a collision with linebacker Roman Phifer. Bettis and Lester said they expect to play Sunday.

Bettis voiced concern for his health and durability after a heavy workload the past two games. He carried a combined 64 times for 264 yards in those games, and his 130 carries this season are 12 more than any other NFL back.

"What (coaches) have to remember," Bettis said, "is that (Bettis) is an ironman but he's not made of steel."

*

The Rams placed wide receiver Richard Buchanan on waivers to make room on the roster for third-string quarterback Jamie Martin, whom they re-signed Tuesday.

*

Injury report: Cornerback Steve Israel, who missed the last three games with tendinitis in his left knee, practiced Wednesday but his game status is still uncertain. "He had his knee drained and no fluid has come back," Knox said.

Offensive tackle Darryl Ashmore (knee) is out, tailback David Lang (deep thigh bruise) is questionable and center Bern Brostek (sprained ankles) is probable.

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