Rams rookie OT Smith back at practice but unlikely to play vs. 49ers

ST. LOUIS -- Rams rookie offensive tackle Jason Smith returned to practice Wednesday after missing one month with a concussion, although the team considers the No. 2 overall draft pick a long shot to play in this weekend's season finale.

"Very, very, very unlikely," first-year Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said of Smith's status for Sunday's game against the San Francisco 49ers. "We have to be careful, but you never know, I'm never going to rule anything out."

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Spagnuolo said Smith was cleared by medical personnel after a light workout Tuesday, and the team just wanted to get him back on the field.

"It was very limited," Spagnuolo said of Smith's practice Wednesday. "We just kind of wanted him to get back in the swing."

Smith made five starts at tackle before being injured during a Nov. 22 game at Arizona, and he said it was a big relief to pass medical tests and return to the practice field.

"I was able to participate in the whole practice," Smith said. "I was out there from the beginning to the end with limited activity, so tomorrow, hopefully it'll increase a little bit."

The team exercised caution during Smith's absence, especially after he became ill on the sideline near the end of a game against the Seattle Seahawks the week after he was injured. Smith was taken to a hospital for observation and released later that night.

Smith said he suffered from a variety of symptoms, but he hadn't worried that the concussion would have lasting effects.

"It's one of those deals that you can't put a time on it," Smith said. "I feel the league is doing a great job of handling these things, and here with the Rams they did a great job of dealing with it."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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