posted on Aug, 29 2004 @ 09:25 AM
The St. Louis Rams on Saturday made official what most observers have suspected for more than a month, placing right offensive tackle Kyle Turley on
injured reserve, a move that means he will miss the entire 2004 season.
The transaction is hardly unexpected, since Turley has not practiced since the earliest days of training camp, and has been telling friends for weeks
he almost certainly would not be able to play this season. It is possible, as well, that Turley's career is over entirely unless he can find relief
from the back problems that have plagued him for two years.
Turley, 28, underwent offseason surgery by a Los Angeles specialist to repair a herniated disc. But he herniated the same disc, either in training
camp or just before it, and he also has a bulging disc just above the original injury.
A six-year veteran, Turley had earlier indicated he did not want further surgery, and had hoped that epidural injections might successfully treat the
problem. It now appears that another operation might be Turley's only option if he wants to play again. He and Rams officials, along with agent Tom
Condon of IMG Football, will continue to discuss the alternatives for the future.
"It's a matter of, 'What do you do about it?' " Condon said. "And we're just not sure about that yet."
While the likelihood that Turley would be relegated to injured reserve for the season has been much discussed by Rams players and officials, the loss
of the strongside tackle is still a devastating blow. St. Louis traded for Turley last summer, acquiring him from the New Orleans Saints, and the
sometimes-controversial blocker was supposed to afford the Rams, along with Orlando Pace, the best tackle tandem in the league.
A first-round pick in the 1998 draft, Turley had missed only one game in six seasons, starting in all 95 of his regular-season appearances through
last year. Until the herniated disc, he had been a model of durability.
Camp has been difficult for the St. Louis line with three starters from 2003 -- Pace, Turley and center Dave Wohlabaugh -- not practicing. Wohlabaugh
was released after it became apparent he would not recover from hip surgery to contribute this season. Pace, who is designated as the team's
"franchise" player, has skipped all of training camp, and also did not participate in any offseason workouts.
The lone starter from the 2003 line who is in the same slot as a year ago is right guard Adam Timmerman. Left guard Andy McCollum moved to center two
weeks ago to take over for Wohlabaugh. The unit did demonstrated some progress on Friday night, allowing just one sack to the Washington Redskins.
There also are signs that Pace, who now has missed three entire training camps because of contract disputes in his eight-year career, may be poised to
end his holdout. Pace hosted a post-game party for teammates on Friday night and there is a strong possibility he will sign the one-year qualifying
offer for a "franchise" offensive lineman and report to camp next week.