- Associated Press - Thursday, September 29, 2011

ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Rams are optimistic Steven Jackson will have a larger workload this weekend when they host the Washington Redskins.

Jackson has been hobbled by a strained quadriceps muscle. He was hurt on the Rams’ first play of the season against Philadelphia.

The Rams’ captain scored a touchdown on that 47-yard run, but he pulled up as he crossed the goal line. He had one more carry in that game — for nine yards — and didn’t play in the second game against the Giants.

Jackson saw limited time against the Ravens, who left St. Louis with a 37-7 victory that kept the Rams winless. He carried the ball just four times for 23 yards.

Jackson has been limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday. However, his presence on the practice field shows he is making progress.

“I’ve been able to practice all week, so that’s having things go in the right direction,” Jackson said. “I’ll be out there on Sunday.”

Umenyiora ready to play; Tuck’s status unknown

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — With two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Justin Tuck battling a groin issue and a persistent neck injury, Osi Umenyiora could not have picked a better time to get back into the New York Giants‘ lineup.

Umenyiora, 29, who tied an NFL record with 10 forced fumbles last season, practiced on a limited basis for the second straight day Thursday, and it appears the two-time Pro Bowler will play for the first time this season when the Giants visit Arizona.

Tuck has missed practice the past two days. He does not know if he will be cleared to work Friday, but he insisted that if he boards to plane for the flight to Phoenix on Saturday, he will play in the game.

Vikings assessing McNabb’s throwing mechanics

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Minnesota Vikings have been evaluating Donovan McNabb’s mechanics this week, a response to some inaccuracy issues that have bogged down the 34-year-old and the Minnesota offense.

McNabb has only one turnover, an interception on his first play from scrimmage off a batted pass at the line, through three games. His predecessor, Brett Favre, had seven by this point last season. But several of McNabb’s throws have been uncatchable, either one-hoppers that landed well short of receivers or air balls that sailed over the heads of his targets. He ranks 26th in the league with a 78.1 passer rating, and his completion percentage is only 58.

Romo says he’s mending as Cowboys await Lions

IRVING, Texas — Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is enjoying his two weeks of reputation rehab after back-to-back wins.

His body is feeling better, too. Romo broke a rib and punctured a lung in a Week 2 win over San Francisco and he played last week in a gritty win over Washington.

Romo says he is feeling better as Dallas prepares to host Detroit on Sunday. Romo practiced Thursday but receiver Dez Bryant (thigh) did not. Kicker David Buehler (groin) and Miles Austin (hamstring) also didn’t practice.

Around the league

JETS: New York cornerback Antonio Cromartie returned to the practice field, four days after suffering a bruised lung and ribs in a loss at Oakland. Center Nick Mangold also was in full uniform for the first time since suffering a high right ankle sprain against Jacksonville two weeks ago, but didn’t participate in team drills. He could be a game-time decision Sunday in Baltimore.

CARDINALS: Arizona running back Beanie Wells said he is optimistic about his chances of playing Sunday against the New York Giants. Wells, who sat out last week’s loss at Seattle with a sore left hamstring, said he turned it loose at full speed Thursday and felt no ill effects. Wells has rushed for 183 yards in two games, averaging 5.7 yards per carry.

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