Steven Jackson Undergoes Back Surgery: Bad News for the St. Louis Rams

David LeonCorrespondent IMay 5, 2010

ST. LOUIS - DECEMBER 20:  Steven Jackson #39 of the St. Louis Rams carries the ball during the game against the Houston Texans at Edward Jones Dome on December 20, 2009 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is reporting that the Rams' best player, Pro Bowl running back Steven Jackson, had a minor procedure to repair a herniated disc in his spine.

The surgery took place at an undisclosed medical facility in California early this month.

Wanna bet it was UCLA?

Apparently, Jackson suffered this injury in the Nov. 22 matchup against the Cardinals. Jackson can't pinpoint a single play where it happened. It may have been one hit, or it may have been several.

This injury prevented Jackson from practicing with the team for most of the remaining season.

The herniated disc definitely impacted his performance. He averaged 103 yards per game prior to the injury and only 77 afterward. Offensive line injuries and the cutting of Ritchie Incognito also had something to do with this drop in production.

Jackson suffered back spasms as a result of this injury. He attempted to remedy the problem with simple physical rehab, but when this failed, he decided to have surgery.

Coach Steve Spagnuolo is upbeat and positive, stating that it was a minor procedure and that Jackson feels great. Spagnuolo said Jackson would be kept out of OTAs and full practices starting May 18.

He may even decide to sideline Jackson until the start of training camp at the end of July. This would be a precautionary measure rather than doctor's orders.

Jackson is responsible for approximately 40 percent of the Rams' total offensive output. He is the Rams' only Pro Bowl player.

According to the official party line, he is the security blanket ensuring No. 1 draft pick Sam Bradford an easier introduction to the NFL.

Ergo, reports of surgery on Jackson's back are plenty sufficient to send the average Rams fan's pulse skyrocketing.

This news highlights the fact that the Rams have not prepared for a potential loss of Jackson for any duration of time. The Rams did not select a running back in the 2010 draft. They passed on "Fast" Willie Parker, who subsequently signed with the Redskins.

They are currently mulling over the idea of signing Brian Westbrook, formerly of the Eagles. It is uncertain whether Westbrook would be willing to play for the Rams.

At the moment, the Rams have only Kenneth Darby and Chris Ogbonnaya backing up Jackson.

The Rams are an offensively-challenged team. In 2009, the team scored a total of just 175 points (or approximately 10.9 points per game)—dead last in the league.