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Triple-digit heat forces St. Louis Rams to practice indoors

ST. LOUIS (AP) -Triple-digit temperatures have forced the St. Louis Rams inside for daytime workouts.

"It's the hottest spot in the country right now," coach Scott Linehan said Monday. "One of the precautions you take with extreme heat is to have an alternative plan."

The National Weather Service predicted highs of 101, 101 and 100 degrees in the next three days in St. Louis, a minor dip to 99 on Friday and a high of 102 by Sunday.

On days with two practices, the team will be outside for the evening workout. Despite air conditioning, it was in the mid-80s with high humidity for Monday morning's indoor practice and players were dripping with sweat.

"We want to be able to work the guys and get in shape," Linehan said. "We want them to feel it. It's designed that way, we don't want it too cool."

Linemen certainly weren't being pampered. They spent a good portion of the 2-hour morning workout outside pushing sleds.

"We come in here and it's like 'oh man, they've been living lovely,"' rookie defensive tackle Keith Jackson said. "We've been outside for about 45 minutes and it's feeling real good."

The team said it would decide whether to work out indoors or outdoors on a daily basis. Jackson said for an all-outdoors workout he'd probably shed about eight pounds, but for the indoor workout the number drops to two or three pounds of water weight.

"It's pretty smart," Jackson said. "You don't want anybody overheating and passing out."

The fans won't be allowed at indoor practices. The Rams allowed them in for one workout Friday but felt the crowds made for cramped conditions and safety concerns. During the regular season, the Rams close their practices to media.

Special teams also are hindered because the roof is too low for punts.

The biggest plus: a lack of players lined up for IV fluids between workouts. Throughout camp, Linehan said the coaching staff has pushed hydration.

"Our guys probably triple or quadruple their fluid intake," Linehan said. "Really avoiding the IVs, a lot of it is preventive."

Players appreciated that the coach was looking out for them. Linehan said it was milder last summer and the team never had to seek indoor relief.

"Either way, we're going to practice hard wherever it's at," linebacker Chris Draft said. "I guess the heat is something that's turning up, but it doesn't matter."

Notes: Return man Dante Hall, who has a strained hamstring, probably won't play in the preseason opener on Friday at Minnesota. Linehan said the injury began to creep up on Hall late last week, but said holding him out would just be a precaution. ... Linehan stopped short of handing the backup running back job behind Steven Jackson to second-round pick Brian Leonard. "Brian is in a great position, he's doing a great job," Linehan said. "But in a sense, everybody behind Steven is unproven." ... Linehan singled out third-round pick Jonathan Wade, a cornerback, for praise after his play in an intersquad scrimmage on Saturday. "Jonathan showed me something," Linehan said. "His ability to tackle is something that really caught my eye."

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