Rams lose return specialist Hall for season with ankle injury

ST. LOUIS -- Another day, another member of the St. Louis Rams is lost for the season.

Return specialist Dante Hall, who has been hobbled much of the season by a high ankle sprain, was put on injured reserve, coach Scott Linehan said Thursday.

"His ankle is not responding," Linehan said. "He still has swelling and is unable to cut on it."

Hall becomes the 11th Rams player to have his season ended by injury, and along with cornerback Tye Hill the second this week. Hill, the team's 2006 No. 1 draft pick, had season-ending wrist surgery.

Hall spent seven seasons in Kansas City before coming to St. Louis in a pre-draft trade. This is the first time he's been put on injured reserve.

"It's pretty tough," Hall said. "I take pride in not missing games, so to be put on IR is like total devastation. But at this point, it's just a smart thing to do for me and the team.

"We were going back and forth," Hall said. "It would feel good one week and then it would start to ache. It put coach in a bind not knowing who was going to be his returner every week. I'll heal up and get ready for next year."

Surgery will not be required.

Hall aggravated the ankle on a return Nov. 25 against Seattle. The injury first occurred Oct. 7 against Arizona, forcing him to miss four games. Both injuries came in home games played on the turf field of the Edward Jones Dome.

Is there a connection?

"I hate to speculate on that," Hall said. "I have no real evidence to suggest that. But I played on grass for seven years and never had any problems. I don't know."

There were times when Hall flashed the brilliance he often displayed with the Chiefs.

On Sept. 30 in Dallas, he returned a punt 85 yards for his lone touchdown of the season. That score gave Hall 12 career return touchdowns (six punt, six kickoff), second-most in NFL history.

"I've got very high standards for myself," Hall said. "I'm not the best in the league right now. That's Mr. (Devin) Hester. Until I'm better than him, it's not good enough."

Notes: OT Rob Petitti was being evaluated after sustaining a concussion in Sunday's win over Atlanta. ... WR Isaac Bruce said his touchdown celebration Sunday was modeled after Chris Carter, whom he passed for fifth on the NFL's career receiving list. Bruce has 13,911 yards, 65 behind Indianapolis' Marvin Harrison and 125 behind James Lofton.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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