ST. LOUIS (AP) — Tavon Austin sat out his second straight practice on Thursday, and his availability for the St. Louis Rams’ game on Sunday is in question.
Despite his small stature, the wide receiver from West Virginia — who was the Rams’ No. 1 pick — never missed a practice in college.
Rams coach Jeff Fisher had no update on the condition of Austin, who injured his left ankle in Sunday’s 30-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. It was unknown if he will rejoin practice on Friday.
“We did our test and he’ll be day-to-day this week,” Fisher said.
Given that the Saints (10-3) and Drew Brees figure to put up a high number of points, having Austin available would certainly help the Rams. St. Louis (5-8), which is out of the NFC playoff picture, would also like to get its younger players some more experience.
After a slow start, Austin had been coming on. He has 40 catches for 418 yards and four touchdowns, and he ran nine timed for 151 yards and another score. He also has 18 kickoff returns for 398 yards, and 33 punt returns for 280.
One of those punt returns was a 98-yarder for a touchdown. That came in a 38-8 win on Nov. 10 over the Indianapolis Colts, a game in which Austin finally showed why the Rams selected him with the No. 8 pick in this year’s draft.
In addition to the punt return, Austin had three catches for 138 yards and two other touchdowns in that game.
Since then, the Rams have been trying to find more ways to get Austin involved. Fisher said that isn’t as simple as it may seem.
“It makes sense to get it to him as often as you can in space, and we’re trying to do that,” Fisher said. “He’s getting some opportunities. He’s a threat to go the distance every time he touches the ball in the return game. You see what he can do with reverses. We’ll continue to do that. We’ll try to expand that package.”
Austin had just one rush against Arizona, but he broke it for 56 yards before being dragged down.
In the Rams’ 42-21 win over the Chicago Bears on Nov. 24, Austin took a handoff on the third play from scrimmage and went 65 yards for a touchdown. That opened the eyes of quarterback Kellen Clemens.
“I think, obviously, Tavon is finding his niche here,” Clemens said after the Bears’ game. “He’s a very unique talent, got great speed, got great vision. It’s a great job by him making plays.”
Cornerback Janoris Jenkins (back), running back Daryl Richardson (thigh) and guard Harvey Dahl (knee) all missed practice Thursday for a second straight day. However, cornerback Brandon McGee (food) returned to the practice field.