Turf toe leaves iron man streak in jeopardy

Tuesday, January 1, 2002

ST. LOUIS -- Aeneas Williams' iron man streak is in serious jeopardy.

The Rams' All-Pro cornerback has battled turf toe since late in training camp, and the injury isn't getting any better. So his run of 127 consecutive starts and 180 consecutive games could end on Sunday at San Francisco.

Williams has been wearing a baseball cap instead of a helmet all week at practice. Coach Mike Martz wasn't that optimistic on Friday, saying the injury just needed more rest.

"It's the only treatment you can do for it," Martz said. "Sooner or later you've just got to give him a break."

Williams, who had to leave the Cowboys' game, was optimistic about his chances immediately after that game. He referred to the injury as "just a flare-up."

"I expect to be back," he said then. "I'll be fine and this team will be fine. I think we'll all be fine."

But it was bad enough that compensating caused him to sprain his ankle, and after practice Wednesday he had nothing positive to say. He answered several questions about the injury by saying "You'd have to talk to the trainers."

Martz said it would be difficult for Williams to sit. Williams is wearing a special orthotic this week in hopes of recovering.

"You have to force him to stay out, obviously," Martz said. "Tomorrow he'll do some work out here on the grass and he'll get a feel for it."

Rookie backup Travis Fisher, the team's second-round pick this year, figured he'd be getting his first career start.

"I think I'll be the guy this week," Fisher said. "I'm just trying to get after every receiver that comes my way, and that's the attitude I've got to have."

Fisher believes the extensive playing time he got against the Cowboys, plus daily battles with Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt, will help when he has to try to stop Terrell Owens this weekend.

"Terrell Owens is a great receiver, but we work real hard against the receivers we have here and I'm real confident," Fisher said. "The guys here are probably the best receivers in the history of the NFL."

Martz said Fisher will do just fine if he makes the start.

"Travis, for a young guy, he doesn't know he's a young guy," Martz said. "He's playing good and confident."

Martz gets thumbs up from team president

Martz got a vote of confidence from team president John Shaw this week and players remain in his corner.

"It takes all of us," injured quarterback Kurt Warner said. "When you're somebody that everybody's gunning for, they love to see you knocked down a notch or two, and that's what's happening."

Noteworthy

  • The Rams have a six-game winning streak against the 49ers after losing 17 in a row. The game remains the biggest rivalry on the team's schedule, seven years after they moved from the West Coast.

    Isaac Bruce has scored 57 touchdowns, one behind Eric Dickerson for second-best in franchise history.

    Marshall Faulk needs 94 yards rushing to move into the top 15 on the career list ahead of Joe Perry.

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