In the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 34-14 win over the Cowboys, No. 39 came up limping after a 1-yard run, and was removed from the game and didn’t return.

“It kind of got bent up pretty funny on the tackle, kind of overstretched itself, and it was definitely something that was a sharp pain right away. The doctors checked it out and we kind of thought the worst at first.”

After receiving an MRI the next day on his quadriceps, the verdict was in: it was just a strain.

“Once we got a chance to look at the MRI and it confirmed that it wasn’t anything I guess kind of the mind goes to ease. Today, Wednesday, doing a light workout is really promising.”

While No. 39 will likely sit out practice all week, he is expected to be good to go this Sunday against New England, and Coach Jim Haslett anticipates starting him.

“Yeah, it was pretty good news…He said it’s a little tight, a little stiff, but he felt good about it.”

In the event that Steven won’t be cleared to play, backups Travis Minor, Kenneth Darby, and Antonio Pittman will be ready to fill in.

“I’m going to be ready,” Pittman said. “[Steven]’s the man, and there’s nothing better than to relieve a guy like that.”

If Steven does find a way to get on the field, he’ll likely being seeing even more open gaps this Sunday against the 4-2 Patriots.

Offensive guard Orlando Pace, SJax’s best blocker, is finally ready to return to action after injuring his right quadriceps against Washington.

“Everything is good,” Pace said. “I went through the whole practice and felt pretty good.”

No. 39 has been hot as a firecracker of late, averaging 116 yards on 4.9 yards per carry over his last three games with four touchdowns. Steven’s stellar play hasn’t gone unnoticed.

“Steven’s got the whole package,” said fullback Dan Kreider, who was Jerome Bettis’ lead blocker for several seasons in Pittsburgh before signing with St. Louis in July.

SJ single-handedly re-enacted the “Greatest Show on Turf” last Sunday against Dallas, racking up 160 yards and three touchdowns against the ‘Boys. No. 39 exhibited the spectrum of his skills: breaking tackles, showing his speed, and making plays in both the rushing and passing game.

“It doesn’t seem there’s corners that are catching him from behind,” Kreider said of Jackson’s 56-yard touchdown run against Dallas. “It’s impressive.”

SJax’s performance against Big D was enough to earn him NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. SJ was also given the highly prestigious accolade of being Jarrett Bell’s “Stud of the Week”.

From Bell’s “NFL Replay” article for USA Today:

“Jackson’s 8-yard TD in the second quarter was a nifty display of power rushing, while his 56-yard run up the sideline in the third quarter illustrated how a 231-pounder turns on the after-burners.”

SJax hopes to suit up this Sunday in Foxboro against the 4-2 Pats.

Jackson injured, not out (STLtoday, Oct. 21, 2008)
Jackson likely to play against Patriots (Belleville News-Democrat, Oct. 21, 2008)
Rams’ Jackson optimistic about return (Associated Press, Oct. 22, 2008)
Steven Jackson optimistic that he’ll play Sunday (Ramblings, Oct. 22, 2008)
Jackson gradually working up to game day; Pace to start for Rams (, Oct. 22, 2008)
Rams RB Jackson, Patriots QB Cassell earn NFL weekly honors (Yahoo! Sports, Oct. 22, 2008)
Steven Jackson scored NFC Player of the Week (Ramblin’ Fan, Oct. 21, 2008)
NFL Replay: Colts suddenly face must-win division game (USA Today, Oct. 21, 2008)