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Rams’ Jordan Fuller takes steps forward in recovery from ankle surgery

IRVINE — Rams safety Jordan Fuller participated in the spirited team drills that took place Friday during the first padded practice of training camp. It was another strong indicator that Fuller is on track to play in the Sept. 8 regular-season opener against the Buffalo Bills, but he’s not letting his mind go there.

It’s a significant step for Fuller to be playing alongside fellow safeties Taylor Rapp and Nick Scott while defending Matthew Stafford’s first-team offense, but it’s still one step at a time for the third-year safety who is recovering from an ankle injury that forced him to miss the Rams’ Super Bowl run.

“Could be,” Fuller said after being asked if playing in Week 1 is realistic. “We’ll see. I don’t know.”

Fuller doesn’t have a time frame because of his daily challenges that aren’t noticeable on the field. There are days when he’s playing freely and not concerned about the ankle, and then there are days when he says he can’t get his mind off the recovery process.

“I’ll say some days are better than others, but I do think about it,” Fuller said. “I’m not where I want to be, but I’m taking steps in the right direction. What I’m most happy about is that I’m allowed to be around the guys. So it’s fun being back around that energy, playing football and doing what I love to do.”

Rams coach Sean McVay said he told Fuller to have a “smart” progression, and that’s been the case with the team limiting his reps during team drills. Fuller didn’t participate in team drills during the first three practices of training camp.

Fuller, 24, has struggled mentally with his recovery from ankle surgery, but McVay said it hasn’t appeared that way on the field.

“I thought he’s moved around really well,” McVay said. “He looks comfortable. Sometimes it’s a matter of accumulating that experience where you can just really let go and go trust it. … The movement, the way he’s been playing, I’ve been pleased with Jordan.”

HIGBEE’S PROGRESS

Tight end Tyler Higbee was the other season-long starter who missed playing in Super Bowl LVI against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Higbee, who had knee surgery, progressed faster than Fuller, but he admitted Friday that he’s still dealing with challenges on and off the field.

“Getting some of that rust off,” Higbee said. “Just getting those repetitions and being able to hone in on the offense and on those slight details you might have lost in the offseason.

“I think I do a pretty good job of being able to put that aside and understand and try to trust the process. At times it can get a little tough, you wanna be able to do certain things that you were doing prior to an injury. Sometimes that takes time. Sometimes you’re going to have to battle through certain things.”

Higbee is working his way back, but he’s made several plays as Stafford’s go-to tight end during the first week of training camp.

HIGHLIGHT PLAYS

Rookie cornerback Decobie Durant made two acrobatic interceptions during team drills, one against Stafford and the other on a pass from backup quarterback John Wolford.



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