Friday night, No. 1 wide receiver Donnie Avery came down with a foot injury during an intrasquad scrimmage. The injury wasn't believed to be serious, but, come Sunday, Avery was experiencing enough pain that the team ordered an MRI. The results came back with bad news.
"[The MRI] showed more than we thought," coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "It's probably a four-to-six-week injury."The Rams open the season September 13 in Seattle, which is exactly five weeks from now. Considering Avery is a receiver who relies greatly upon his speed, this injury will put a damper on any optimism the Rams were building toward the beginning of the Spagnuolo era. The best-case scenario gives him one week to prepare to the opener, which isn't near enough to get him up to full speed. It's more likely he misses the first game or two and takes a few weeks to get back into the swing after that.
Even worse, the Rams are pretty thin in terms of proven playmakers at receiver. Without Avery, the starters look to be Keenan Burton (13 catches for 172 yards last season) and Ronald Curry (19 catches for 181 yards last season). Laurent Robinson and Tim Carter would also be in the mix.
Obviously, this hurts Avery's value in a big way. Even if he makes it back in time for the season, there is great concern he'll open the season slowly. This knocks him down from a WR3 to a WR4 in most leagues. Thus, Marc Bulger's already dwindling value takes a hit. Of the options who might replace Avery, if only for a game, Curry is the most intriguing. He's a great athlete who has shown flashes of emerging, yet he's always been buried in Oakland (running team with poor quarterback play).
Also, Steven Jackson will be leaned upon even more heavily should Avery miss time. If Jackson can stay healthy, he's going to see 30 touches a game.
Monitor Avery's progress up to your draft day and see how quickly he's healing.