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Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Around the NFC West: Jackson's prognosis

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says the Rams expect Steven Jackson to return from back surgery no later than the start of training camp. One key variable could be whether Jackson's symptoms were causing weakness in his legs, as ESPN injury expert Stephania Bell noted during a December 2009 item about Jackson. Bell: "In the case of a herniated disk, as long as the symptoms remain localized to Jackson's low back, there is not necessarily a huge level of concern. Many people are quite functional despite the presence of disk problems, although when the disk is inflamed, the pain itself can be debilitating. The concern grows, however, if the disk is causing associated neurological problems, such as numbness or weakness in the leg. This was the case last season [2008] for the aforementioned Matt Hasselbeck, who was having weakness in his leg as the result of a herniated disk in his back. Hasselbeck's season came to an early end, but he recovered nicely in the offseason and, after undergoing a rigorous rehabilitation and conditioning program, has been able to return strong this year."

Robert Patrick of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Rams linebacker David Vobora is suing the manufacturer of the supplement behind his NFL suspension.

Darren Urban of azcardinals.com says Brandon Keith is excited to get a shot at being the Cardinals' starting right tackle. Keith: "You’ve got to have a plan. A lot of guys come in [and think], 'I’m so used to starting' and then you're not a starter and everything goes down in the dumps. I always set myself up with a plan. My first year was trying to make the team, the second year was doing what I could to make the team better. Now I want to be a starter and I am in that position. I’m not really blown away by it yet. I am excited."

Also from Urban: Newly signed Cardinals guard Alan Faneca looks a bit like Conrad Dobler. Agreed.

Revenge of the Birds' Andrew602 asks whether second-year outside linebacker Cody Brown can add pass-rush help for the Cardinals. Andrew602: "Let's not forget that Brown had a combined 33 tackles for a loss and 18.5 sacks during his final two years at UConn. He's a dangerous pass rusher that relies solely on his strength and handwork. He'll bring a bull rush to the Cardinals defense that led him to become a team captain and an All-Big East Selection in college. He was also relied upon in coverage and has no problem playing with his hand off the ground. He'll provide stout run-defense  -- something most outside linebackers struggle with early in their career."

Clare Farnsworth of seahawks.com says former Central Washington quarterback Mike Reilly wanted to play for the Seahawks before Seattle showed interest in him. Here's Reilly, claimed off waivers by Seattle on Tuesday, speaking before the 2009 draft: "I really don’t care where I go, as long as I get on a team. But I would love to play for Seattle, to be honest with you."

Greg Johns of seattlepi.com expects Reilly to challenge Mike Teel for the No. 3 job behind Matt Hasselbeck and Charlie Whitehurst. Johns: "Bradley George of Texas State was the fourth quarterback in last weekend's minicamp as a tryout player, but has not been offered a contract by the club. In his four seasons at Central, Reilly set virtually every passing record in Wildcats history, was named co-runner-up for the Harlon Hill Trophy as the nation's top Division II player, and holds the NCAA all-divisions record with at least one touchdown pass in all 46 career games."

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says Patrick Willis' background endeared him to 49ers coach Mike Singletary. Maiocco: "Singletary heard how Willis’ mother abandoned her four young children. He learned about Willis morphing into a parent-type role for his three siblings after their father was accused of neglect. Willis earned a football scholarship to college, but the struggles were not over. He grieved prior to his final year when his brother, Detris, lost his life in a swimming hole near their rural Tennessee home."

Also from Maiocco: a 49ers roster overview.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers expect Willis' play to remain at a high level even after the linebacker received a lucrative extension.

Also from Barrows: a list showing some 49ers players whose contracts expire after the 2010 season. The list includes Dashon Goldson, Vernon Davis, Alex Smith, Manny Lawson and Jason Hill.

More from Barrows: a look at the 49ers' roster competition at guard, return specialist and outside linebacker. Barrows: "On Friday, I asked Mike Singletary about free-agent linebacker Adalius Thomas, someone the 49ers were very interested in during free agency three years ago. Singletary, who coached Thomas in Baltimore, acknowledged that past interest but said he was content with the OLBs the 49ers have on the roster right now. Those linebackers are Parys Haralson, Manny Lawson, Ahmad Brooks and Travis LaBoy. Diyral Briggs, Martail Burnett and Brandon Long provide depth."