Warner back after bout with virus

Friday, January 18, 2002

ST. LOUIS -- Kurt Warner found his voice.

The St. Louis Rams' quarterback was back on the job Thursday, a day after being sent home with the flu. Not only was he looking healthy -- he was no longer silent.

Warner's bruised vocal cords were much better, and he called signals during a morning walkthrough and in the afternoon indoor practice. They were audible only on the line of scrimmage because team doctors and coach Mike Martz didn't want Warner to risk injuring himself again.

"He's alive and well," wide receiver Ricky Proehl said. "Actually, some of the guys were joking and said, 'We haven't talked to you since you won the MVP award."'

Warner had been quiet since the Rams' regular-season finale against the Atlanta Falcons on Jan. 6, when he took a shot to the throat.

Last week, Warner's wife, Brenda, did the talking when he won the MVP award.

Earlier this week, Martz said doctors wanted Warner to avoid talking until Sunday, when the Rams play the Green Bay Packers in the second round of the NFC playoffs.

On Thursday, the game plan was revised when a checkup revealed the swelling was gone and Warner was seen chatting on the sideline as well as calling plays.

"He has to start talking again," Martz said. "I just said 'Listen, just talk in a very soft voice just so you don't strain anything, just get used to it again.'

"He'll be louder tomorrow and louder on Saturday, and he'll be ready to go on Sunday."

Martz said would consider asking stadium personnel not to play music while the Rams are in the huddle, to help avoid Warner straining his vocal cords. If Warner loses his voice, backup Jamie Martin will play.

"If he can't call the play in the huddle, we'll just go with the other quarterback," Martz said. "It's just not going to come to that, it's just not worth dwelling on."

Warner looked a bit pale as he walked off the field, but any weakness didn't affect his throwing.

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