There's not much that can keep Steven Jackson out of an NFL football game.
Despite suffering a broken ring finger on his left hand during last Sunday's game with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- and having surgery to place two pins in that finger on Monday -- Steven had no doubt he'll be ready to go when his St. Louis Rams host the Carolina Panthers this Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome.
"Absolutely, I will definitely be out there Sunday," said Jackson, who had two pins inserted into the finger. "The surgery went fine. Everything went well. It's unfortunate it had to happen. It's on the left hand so it's not a big deal as if it was my right hand."
S-Jax carries the ball with his right hand, so the injury shouldn't have much affect on his ability to grip the ball. And for a player who, last season, played half the year with severe back pain and earlier this season suited up twice despite a groin strain, the pain of a broken finger isn't much of a worry either.
"Pain is going to occur," he told the Belleville News-Democrat. "That's not something we are going to try to avoid, that's not something we are thinking won't happen. Pain will be a part of the game on Sunday, but just like any injury, when you are out there, you have to perform at the level you can."
Steven said that he suffered the injury early in the game last Sunday, but kind of shrugged it off. He assumed the finger was dislocated, not broken.
"I was actually shocked,'' Jackson said. "I thought it was just dislocated. A finger being dislocated happens all the time. I've had it happen several times.
"I assumed it would be a lot more painful than it actually was."
Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo told the News-Democrat that shrugging off an injury of that nature is a testament to Steven's heart and desire.
"He didn't think it was a big deal," Spagnuolo said. "He kept playing. ... He's just a warrior. He goes out and plays and we find out later on there's a crack in there."
"With a warrior-type player like Steven, it's not as much of a concern as it would be maybe a player who is dealing with one of his first injuries,'' offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur added.
No. 39 opted for surgery as soon as he learned the severity of the injury so that he would be able to heal as much as possible for this week's important game. The pins will remain in the finger for six to eight weeks as the crack heals.
"It was a quick 20-minute surgery," he said. "It wasn't one that was a long, strenuous. It was yank the finger a couple of times to get it back in place, and put a pin in. I'm sure it was a lot more difficult for the doctor, but that's why I went in on Monday to have the surgery. So I can get the swelling done, get myself as a functional as I can. Give myself six days instead of three or four days."
In order to protect the finger, SJ39 will wear a soft cast. He noted that putting a club-like cast on his arm was not an option due to his role in the passing game.
"It'll be some sort of a soft cast to protect the ring finger, something that's functional and will allow me to carry the ball, catch the ball, hold the ball," he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "We're going to play around with it. We've been experimenting. We started today, and I think I found sort of the feel of what I like. We'll see what we come up with tomorrow and then make a decision."
"It's unfortunate that it had to happen, but it's on the left hand. So it's not as big a deal as if it was on the right hand."
The fact that Steven broke the all-time Rams rushing record last week and what it means hasn't been lost on anyone.
But Steven's hometown paper, the Las Vegas Review Journal, offered a unique perspective, as Ed Graney writes:
Three yards off right guard.
It was better this way. Some long, cutting, winding, sprint-to-the-house 50-yard run wouldn't have defined Steven Jackson's journey in near the same manner. It wouldn't have appropriately identified the struggles endured to reach history. It wouldn't have made as much sense.
"It symbolizes the long road I've had to walk to get to this point," Jackson said. "There hasn't been much glitz and glamour. Just hard-nosed football. A short, tough run.
"It is how I have tried to define my career -- a blue-collar guy, team oriented, always looking to maximize my capabilities for the betterment of the group."
He hated that the record came on the road, hated more that it came on the afternoon of yet another loss, hated he couldn't celebrate becoming the all-time rushing leader in St. Louis Rams history with his teammates and fans in victory.
Jackson on Sunday at Tampa Bay ran past Eric Dickerson in the record books and has 7,324 career rushing yards, having bumped a Hall of Famer to second place among all those who have carried the ball for the franchise.
In his story, Graney chronicles where Steven has come from, where he is now and takes a look at where he might end up.
"I don't feel pressed for time, and yet I know the sand in the hourglass on my career is moving," Jackson said. "I just want to win so badly. (Losing) has been hard. Records and making Pro Bowls and all the individual honors I have received don't mean as much without winning games. You play this game to win the Super Bowl. When you don't win, you're always left with an empty feeling."
To read the entire story, click here.
SJ39 took time out this week to join his NFL brethren Terrell Owens and Chad Ocho Cinco on their Versus sports talk show "The T.Ocho Show"
The trio discussed a wide-range of topics, including injuries, the chance of an NFL lockout, the possibility of T.O. playing in St. Louis and the style upgrade that Steven would bring to their show.
To watch Steven's segment, click here.
At ESPN.com, Mike Sando analyzed Steven's carries all over the field and came out wondering if maybe, No. 39 needs to get more carries in the red zone.
It's clear the Rams trust quarterback Sam Bradford. They like the way he throws with accuracy on the move. They know defenses are keying on Jackson. They want to use this to their advantage by having Bradford run rollouts and bootlegs. It's a good strategy, but a playcaller can sometimes outsmart himself. I wouldn't argue with a few more carries for Jackson when the Rams reach the 10.
For a full breakdown of Steven's runs from Sando, click here.
The St. Louis Rams play host to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome.
The Panthers are ranked 24th in the NFL against the run, allowing an average of 128.5 rushing yards per game. Steven has rushed for at least 100 yards in each of his last three games and could be in for another big day against the struggling Panthers.
Kickoff is scheduled for Noon CST and the game can be seen on FOX.