EARTH CITY, Mo. -- St. Louis Rams safety T.J. McDonald isn't yet eligible to come off the injured reserve/designated to return list, but he will be soon. And when he is, all indications are that he'll be healthy enough to resume practice.
“He’s progressing nicely," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said. "He’s actually on land running right now, so that’s a huge step for him. We won’t have any problems with the timing of that.”
McDonald suffered a fracture in his leg against San Francisco on Sept. 26. That was Week 4 of the season. Soon after, the Rams placed him on the aforementioned list, a designation that allows him to return to practice after six weeks and return to games after eight.
Based on that timeline, McDonald could return to practice next week when the team is on its bye, and be eligible for his first game back on Dec. 1 at San Francisco. That also works under the assumption that McDonald will be healthy and cleared to play by then.
Getting McDonald back would be good for the Rams on a couple fronts. First, they have struggled mightily at safety for most of the season, particularly with him out of the lineup. Although he struggled with some missed tackles in his first four games, he generally was in the right position and was more than willing to come up and hit someone.
Second, the Rams need every game possible to develop young talent such as McDonald. Who knows how much further along he'd be if he'd been healthy all season? The sooner he returns, the sooner he can get valuable game experience.
As for the Rams' injury report, running back Zac Stacy (foot) continued to follow what's becoming his weekly protocol by returning to practice on a limited basis Thursday. He didn't practice Wednesday, but again looks like he's going to be ready to go Sunday against Indianapolis.