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Scott Wells was in the ICU this summer

The Rams' starting center missed a chunk of the preseason thanks to a tick bite. It could have been worse. A lot worse.

Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports

Jim Thomas broke a story early this morning that Scott Wells was admitted to a hospital for four days this summer when a tick bite left him infected with ehrlichia, a bacterial compound that kills 1.8% of those that come down with it.

He was on antibiotics for nearly two weeks, which affected his appetite and taste leading to him losing 20 pounds in the four days he was in the hospital.

Two interesting parts of this story: the media approach and the affect on the chemistry of the offensive line.

Because of the severity and the unusual nature of the illness, Rams coach Jeff Fisher didn’t want to reveal the information, basically leaving that up to Wells.

Now that he has been back in the lineup for the first three games of the regular season, Wells had no problem speaking of his ordeal.

That's just weird. I get that NFL teams are heavily scrutinized, but this isn't a story that seems all that sensitive...but whatever.

More important is how it has affected the trajectory of the season. Here's Thomas again (emphasis mine):

This summer’s tick-borne illness resulted in Wells sitting out the exhibition opener, although he did play in Game 2 (against Green Bay) and Game 3 (Cleveland) of the preseason.

But combine that with left guard Rodger Saffold’s shoulder injury, and left tackle Jake Long’s rehab from knee surgery, and the Rams’ starting offensive line was rarely on the field together during training camp and the preseason.

The results are kinda obvious. Long's rocky start led to Sam Bradford's injury. Wells and RG Davin Joseph have struggled. The running game hasn't come close to a dominating performance.

On the positive side, you can argue the line improved from game to game in each of the Rams' first three contests to the point that they're ranked fourth in the NFL in run blocking according to Football Outsiders (though down at 21st in pass pro).

And of course the elephant in the room (metaphorically...) is the avoidance of #2 overall pick Greg Robinson. GRob filled in for Rodger Saffold in week one for nine snaps and picked up another against the Cowboys when Saffold was having equipment issues.

In the end, it's a stark reminder of how unpredictable the NFL season can be when a tick bite throws things off and yet how obvious the bottom line remains. Wells knows that's the case:

I see progress...It’s good to see improvement, but the category we need to improve upon the most — it’s the win column.