As St. Louis Post-Dispatch beat writer Bill Coats noted Saturday, Isaac Bruce, who occasionally enjoys a good sparring session with the media, was at his cagey best in the locker room following Friday’s practice When Discussing Return Curtis Bruce Cagey Ready To Step Back
The veteran wide receiver has missed five games since suffering a turf toe injury Sept. 25 vs. Tennessee. He’d been sidelined only once since 1998.
Bruce dropped a strong hint about his status for the game Sunday in Seattle when he said: “We’re excited about playing. We’ve had a week off — me, five weeks. We’re ready to get out there and mix it up a little bit.”
But Coats added, Bruce wouldn’t be pinned down on the subject.
Asked if a decision had been made on whether he’d play, Bruce said, “You’ll have to ask coach [Joe], Vitt. I don’t know.” Interim coach Joe Vitt had indicated earlier that nothing would be decided until the weekend.
Pressed on the issue, Bruce said, “Sunday’s not here; it’s Friday. I don’t know.”
Asked, then, whether he felt as if he’d be ready, Bruce said, “I’m not big on the feelings, man.” Bruce, who turned 33 on Thursday, refused to acknowledge frustration over the lingering malady. “I never get frustrated,” he said. “Injuries are part of the game. It just so happened it fell on me.”
He wouldn’t admit to feeling rusty after his layoff, either. “I drank some WD-40, so rust isn’t going to work,” he said.
Bruce has been fitted with an orthotic for his left foot that is “working pretty well,” he said. But he stressed that he won’t know the full nature of his recovery until he plays.
“You get in a game, you just go wide open: coming off the ball, trying to hit guys, trying to tackle, trying to block and all that stuff,” he said. “Something will happen, and I’ll determine then how it feels.”
Meanwhile, the likely return of Bruce — and Torry Holt‘s more certain return from a knee injury — would mean that speedy Kevin Curtis falls back to the No. 3 role.
A third-year pro out of Utah State, Curtis started in place of Bruce, who was injured late in the first half Sept. 25 against Tennessee. Curtis proved to be an effective target, starting with four catches for 53 yards in the second half against the Titans.
Then over the next five games, he averaged 19.4 yards on 20 receptions and scored four touchdowns.
Curtis’ 83-yard TD reception less than 5 minutes after kickoff on Oct. 30 forced the Jacksonville defense to loosen up between the tackles. Second-year running back Steven Jackson took advantage, rushing for a career-high 179 yards in a 24-21 victory.
“You’re out here sweating and working every day with these guys, and to be able to go out on Sunday and make plays, there definitely is satisfaction in that,” said Curtis, who had a 57-yard scoring catch at Indianapolis. “It feels good to help the team win.”
For the season, Curtis is second to Holt among the Rams in catches and receiving yards.