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Rams RB Jackson ready to go vs. Panthers after finger surgery

ST. LOUIS -- Steven Jackson had surgery Monday for a broken ring finger on his left hand. No big deal: The Rams' running back usually carries the ball in his right hand anyway.

Jackson said Thursday that he will play Sunday when the Carolina Panthers (1-5) visit the Rams (3-4).

"Absolutely, I will definitely be out there Sunday," said Jackson, who had two pins inserted into the finger. "The surgery went fine. Everything went well. It's unfortunate it had to happen. It's on the left hand, so it's not a big deal as if it was my right hand."

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The pins will be in Jackson's hand for six to eight weeks. Jackson didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday. He said he might work out Friday.

"I don't see why not," Jackson said about practicing Friday. "First thing, we want to make sure infection doesn't happen. Pain is going to occur. That's something we're not trying to avoid. That's not something we're thinking won't happen. Pain will be part of the game Sunday."

Playing with pain or an injury is nothing new for Jackson.

Earlier this season, Jackson sustained a groin injury against the Washington Redskins in Week 3 and wore extra padding in the next two games before healing. Last season, he played with a sore back.

That Jackson plans to play doesn't surprise Rams guard Jacob Bell.

"He's like Brett Favre, man," Bell said. "You got to count in him until he's out. Nothing really stops the guy."

Jackson is a big part of the St. Louis offense.

Jackson became the Rams' all-time leading rusher Sunday at Tampa Bay, where he had his third consecutive 100-yard game, finishing with 110 yards on 22 carries. He moved ahead of Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson when he gained three yards early in the second quarter. Dickerson gained 7,245 yards for the Rams from 1983 to 1987. Jackson stands at 7,324.

Jackson's 617 rushing yards this season rank fourth in the NFL and second in the NFC behind Minnesota's Adrian Peterson (684).

Jackson will look at some different protections for his hand.

"We're going to experiment with a couple of different things," Jackson said. "It will be some sort of soft cast to protect the ring finger. It won't be a club. Something that's functional that will allow me carry the ball, catch the ball and hold the ball. We'll play around with it. We'll see what we come up with."

Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said he believes Jackson will be able to work around the injury.

"I'm sure it's not going all that comfortable having to put something on you and lug a football around and try to shed blockers," Spagnuolo said. "He's dealt with injuries before, so we'll be optimistic."

Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said not practicing this week shouldn't affect Jackson's ability Sunday.

"I guess I've learned that we keep practicing and coaching, and on Sunday, we see who's there," Shurmur said. "Steven has displayed an ability to play extremely well with limited practice. So, that's kind of the approach we're taking at this point."

Shurmur noted that Jackson can play with pain. It won't change any plays Shurmur might want to call for his big back.

"With a warrior-type player like Steven, it's not as much of a concern as it would be a player who's dealing with his first injury," Shurmur said.

Jackson said he'll do his best regardless.

"Just like with any injury, you've got to perform at the level you can," Jackson said.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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