Amendola's return to practice 'sparked' Rams on Wednesday in London


Amendola's return to practice 'sparked' Rams on Wednesday in London

FOXBORO -- Danny Amendola returned to practice in a "limited" capacity on Wednesday in London.

The St. Louis Rams wide receiver has missed the last two games with a separated shoulder, suffered in the Rams' 17-3 win over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 5.

That was the last win that St. Louis has seen, since Amendola went down. The Rams have lost to the Dolphins in Miami and to Green Bay at home the last two weeks.

So, as expected, Amendola's presence -- while limited on Wednesday -- was well received by the team.

"It was really good to see him, obviously," said Rams quarterback Sam Bradford in a conference call after Wednesday's practice in London. "Me and him are pretty close. We talked about it last week. He told me that he was going to be out there with us today doing some stuff. I was a little surprised, just from the initial reports, I thought it was going to be quite a bit longer for him to get back on the field. But anytime you get him back out there, I think it just brought a whole spark to the whole group today and just lifted everyones spirits a little bit seeing him back out there. Even though he didnt do a whole lot, just having him on the field really energized our group."

While missing two full weeks, Amendola still leads the Rams in receiving, with 32 receptions for 395 yards and two touchdowns.

In his absence, the Rams have needed receivers Brandon Gibson and Chris Givens to step up their game.

"Chris doesnt have a lot of catches, but I believe Chris in four consecutive weeks has a reception over 50 yards, which last week, as his third, hadnt been done by a rookie since former Bears and Raiders receiver Willie Gault," said Rams coach Jeff Fisher in a conference call on Wednesday. "So, hes making a big play here and there. Wed like to try to get him more involved, like to try to get more balls to him, but hes coming on.

"Gibby is doing well too. Gibby is making plays, as are the rest of the guys around him. We have a young group. We have an ascending player in Brian Quick who I think is going to be a very, very solid player for us. Austin Pettis can make plays. When we lost Danny Amendola two weeks ago, other guys had to step up and were getting some production."

Bradford said, on Wednesday, that Amendola's return to the team this season will be crucial.

"Obviously, Ive said it before, a lot of our offense runs through Danny when hes healthy," said Bradford. "You look at the Washington game when he caught 15 balls and everything really started with him. Theres no doubt that we miss him, but I think in the past couple weeks, the guys that have had to step up and make plays because he's not there. I think theyve done a great job and I look for them to do the same this week. Everyone has really elevated their game since he went down."

Highlights: Devin Booker puts up 70 points but Celtics get the win

Highlights: Devin Booker puts up 70 points but Celtics get the win

Highlights from the TD Garden as Devin Booker had a historic performance where he scored 70 points, but it wasn't enough to get the win over the Celtics.

Thomas on Suns: 'We’re worried about the playoffs; they’re worried about the lottery'

Thomas on Suns: 'We’re worried about the playoffs; they’re worried about the lottery'

BOSTON – Stacking wins on top of wins is the mindset of the Boston Celtics right now, so the players who did speak to the media following Friday’s 130-120 win over Phoenix drove that point home emphatically.

But inside the locker room, it was unusually quiet, the kind of silence you expect following a loss.

Considering how the Celtics’ defense was absolutely thrashed by Devin Booker’s franchise record 70 points, there’s no question at a minimum the Celtics’ pride overall was stung.


And when Suns coach Earl Watson began calling time-outs and having his team commit fouls at the end of the game, there’s no question it rubbed a few Celtics the wrong way.

“I don’t think anybody has ever seen that; continuing to call time-outs, continuing to foul when we are up 15. But I mean, it was obvious what they were trying to do. They were trying to get him (Booker) the most points possible. Hat off to to him (Booker). He played a hell of a game.”

Following the game, Watson defended his late-game decision making.

“Calling time-outs at the end kept the game close,” he said. “It’s basketball; I’m not coming to any arena to be liked. If people don’t like us while we build … so what? Do something about it.”

The Suns (22-51) never came any closer than 10 points, which was the final score margin.

Al Horford acknowledged that there was some aggravation following the game.

“You can be frustrated when somebody is doing that to you,” he said. “It’s not to one guy, it’s to the team so I think we’re probably more aggravated at ourselves, at least personally I feel that way. I probably could have done a little better, maybe done some different things to prevent it. We got to give him credit, 70 points, I don’t care it’s 70, he got 70. It’s impressive.”

But there will be some inside the Celtics locker room and among their fan base, who were bothered by the Suns’ late-game actions which seemed more focused on Booker getting numbers than anything else.

When asked about being disrespected by the Suns’ late-game strategy, Thomas wanted no part of that conversation.

“It is what it is,” Thomas said. “We won the game. We’re worried about the playoffs; they’re worried about the lottery.”