<
>

Linemen falling fast in NFC West

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

It's early in the season, but injuries are already affecting offensive lines in the division. A quick look at those situations on a team-by-team basis:

  • Arizona: Starting center Al Johnson went on injured reserve before the opener. The Cardinals like his replacement, Lyle Sendlein, as much or more. Left tackle Mike Gandy played through a bruised knee suffered late in preseason.

  • St. Louis: Starting left guard Jacob Bell, one of the Rams' key offseason acquisitions, missed practice Wednesday. He suffered a hamstring injury against the Eagles in the opener. Roy Schuening or John Greco could start in Bell's place. Both are rookies. Neither was active last week. Backup guards Brandon Gorin and Mark Setterstrom are already on injured reserve. Left tackle Orlando Pace took a hard shot to the ribs in that game, but the team said he's OK.

  • San Francisco: Starting center Eric Heitmann returned to the 49ers' season opener after a shoulder injury forced him to the sideline for part of the game. Right tackle Jonas Jennings is playing with a broken knuckle. David Baas is back from pectoral surgery, but Tony Wragge took his starting job at right guard.

  • Seattle: Starting right guard Rob Sims went on injured reserve today. Floyd Womack replaces him. Womack has a long history of injuries. Mansfield Wrotto backs up Womack. Center Chris Spencer started the opener after missing most of camp with a back injury. The team lost depth at all three interior positions when a back injury forced former longtime starter Chris Gray into retirement. Ray Willis continues to start at right tackle while Sean Locklear recovers from a knee injury.

As bad as NFC West lines have it, things could be worse. Jacksonville lost both starting guards to season-ending injuries.