Source: Sam Bradford expected to start

Updated: October 20, 2011, 10:02 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford, who has a high left ankle sprain and was in a walking boot Monday, is expected to start Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, an NFL source tells ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Bradford did not practice Wednesday while getting treatment for the injury, increasing the likelihood journeyman A.J. Feeley will get the call Sunday at Dallas. Bradford's injury routinely sidelines players for a month, but coach Steve Spagnuolo had some hope he could play because although mobility would be compromised, the plant leg is not affected.

But he still was in a walking boot.

"I don't want to think, to be honest with you," Spagnuolo said after an indoor workout due to rainy, cold conditions. "I don't venture to take any guesses on high ankle sprains.

"I've seen them go all different ways, so I don't know."

Bradford said the ankle was improved from earlier in the week, and thought the decision would be a matter of "pain tolerance." Bradford didn't think getting practice time was a must.

"Obviously, I have to be able to drop back," Bradford said. "I have to be able to have some mobility where I'm not just standing back there."

The 2008 Heisman Trophy winner, who was born in Oklahoma City and played for the Sooners in college, said he'd be trying his best to get ready "whether we were playing in Dallas or in Alaska."

"I've had this Dallas game circled for a while now knowing that it's about as close to home as I get," Bradford said. "It'd mean a lot for me to play down there, so hopefully I'll be ready."

Spagnuolo said the Rams wanted Bradford to keep his foot elevated, so the QB wasn't even on the field. Feeley was preparing to start, but said he wouldn't be surprised if Bradford tried to play.

"He's a tough kid and he wants to play and he wants to take this team on his back," Feeley said of Bradford, the top overall pick in the 2010 draft. "That's the way it should be."

Spagnuolo told the Rams' official team website there was no change in Bradford's condition Thursday.

"No. It's status quo," Spagnuolo said. "Again, really no change. He's got every gadget and gizmo known to America in there trying to get him healthy, but we'll see where we're at tomorrow."

New receiver Brandon Lloyd joked that it didn't matter who was behind center against the Cowboys. The Rams acquired Lloyd from Denver on Monday for a conditional draft pick and Spagnuolo said Lloyd made several catches in his first practice Wednesday.

"I'm pretty used to switching around quarterbacks," Lloyd said, following up with a laugh. "It doesn't matter who the quarterback is. No."

The 34-year-old Feeley has been pretty much a career backup, with only 15 starts in 11 seasons. Bradford took every snap last year and Feeley has played only once this year in mop-up duty in an opening loss to the Eagles, making his first regular-season throws since 2007 and going 1 for 5 for 15 yards.

Routinely, Feeley gets very few snaps with the first team. Now he's getting them all, providing real work for a change as opposed to mental reps.

"My mindset doesn't change, maybe the sense of urgency does," Feeley said. "And the fact that I'm here getting reps out here and the likelihood of my playing is probably a little stronger than it was."

Lloyd and fellow wideout Mark Clayton, activated from the PUP list from a knee injury, hope to be on the field Sunday against the Cowboys.

Lloyd has 19 catches for 283 yards and no touchdowns so far, but led the NFL with 1,448 yards receiving last year on 77 receptions with 11 touchdowns. Clayton was Bradford's go-to guy at the start of last season with 22 receptions for 300 yards and two touchdowns in four games before injuring his knee.

"I feel pretty good about being able to play," Clayton said. "We'll see how it goes tonight and then get up tomorrow and see how my knee responds and roll up, do it again."

Lloyd is reunited with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who was the head coach in Denver when Lloyd was starring there, and the terminology is the same. Lloyd said he was surprised at how quickly it all came back to him.

He was hoping to become the difference-maker for an offense that has totaled 49 points in five games, by far the worst in the NFL. With or without Bradford.

"Just as a professional athlete, I think our pride would like to be stroked that way," Lloyd said. "This is a really good team and it doesn't reflect it in the record.

"If it takes that, I'm prepared for it. I'm prepared to be that."

Spagnuolo liked what he saw, too, although he thought it might take a while to get timing down.

"He didn't look like he stepped a beat," Spagnuolo said. "Looked like he'd been here for a month.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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