St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford is pretty serious when he says that his ankle is not 100 percent. On Thursday morning Jason LaCanfora revealed that Bradford may need surgery on his ankle after the season. The news will only exacerbate concerns over Bradford's future, understandably so.
Bradford has been telling anyone who will listen that his ankle is not 100 percent, though it is not impacting his play. The coaching staff has been more dismissive of Bradford's ankle injury, at least in front of cameras and the softballs lobbed at them by the local media.
Concerns about Bradford's ankle might explain why the team spent so much extra time looking at backup quarterbacks during the offseason, before finally settling on Kellen Clemens.
Having watched Bradford take practice reps and work in the preseason game last week, it was clear that the ankle was not a factor. The issue is how soon it could be a factor. One hit, which could happen often behind a questionable offensive line, could put Bradford back on the shelf. Even worse, it could quickly exacerbate his "cabin fever" problem, i.e. his tendency to respond poorly to pressure.
Hindsight is always 20-20. The previous administration rushed Bradford back from his original injury after just two weeks. Needless to say, he struggled and ended up missing even more time. They should have put him on injured reserve. Spagnuolo and Devaney also tried to rush Danny Amendola back too soon, and ended up losing him for the year.
LaCanfora's report is optimistic about Bradford's season and his ability to grow into form. The new coaching staff does have a solid plan for working with the quarterback. Nevertheless, 2012 is clearly a make or break year for Bradford. The ankle injury and the impact on his game will be closely watched all year.