At his Monday news conference at Rams Park, coach Jeff Fisher passed along some encouraging news about third-year wide receiver Stedman Bailey.
Bailey, who was back home in the Miami area while serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on substance abuse, was shot late Tuesday night, underwent surgery on Wednesday and remains in intensive care.
“He’s improving,’’ the coach reported. “One thing that was really, really cool (and) really, really emotional was that he obviously had intensive surgery — he was in surgery for over six hours — to remove one bullet. There were two wounds to the head, two shots. He was in a medically induced coma for obvious reason to keep the swelling down in the brain. ... His girlfriend texted a picture to some of his teammates yesterday in the locker room (before the game) of him signing his name on a piece of paper, so (we) got to share that with the team yesterday and it was good news.
“We don’t have any more information other than he’s recovering. He’s still in intensive care recovering.’’
Fisher said he didn’t have further details on the shooting or the ongoing investigation and that Bailey had the coach’s OK to return home to train.
“He was working out really hard,’’ Fisher said. “The unfortunate part of the time was he had a ticket Wednesday morning to go back to Atlanta to spend Thanksgiving with his mom and then come back here on Friday to resume his training with us. So it was just an unfortunate timing situation.’’
According to police, Bailey, 25, was shot as he and four other people were sitting in a car outside a home in the Miami area. Another man in the car, Antwan Reeves, was also shot in the attack. Three others in the car, including two minors, were not wounded.
Fisher said quarterback Case Keenum is improving while being evaluated under the concussion protocol.
During his first Rams’ start in Baltimore, Keenum hit his head on the turf while being sacked. He was limited in practice last week and was inactive Sunday in Cincinnati.
“He’s much better,’’ the coach said. “We’re going to do some things with him (Tuesday) and then hopefully he’ll be on the practice field in a limited fashion or a full capacity on Wednesday, so we’ll see how that goes.’’
Last week, Keenum appeared to be progressing before the club backed him off a bit on Friday.
“The testing got to the point where our doctors felt like it would be OK to let him go out to practice. ... He got some reps on Wednesday and then on Friday he took a few reps and he was very honest with us and said he just didn’t feel right. So we pulled him out.’’
Updating some other injuries, Fisher said rookie offensive lineman Andrew Donnal (knee) was ahead of schedule and that cornerback Trumaine Johnson (thigh) has a chance to return to practice this week. He also talked about starting tackle Rob Havenstein (calf), who was active but did not play Sunday.
“We felt like he gave us the best chance to give us some options in case we had a tackle problem,’’ Fisher explained. “I would expect there will be a really good chance that he’ll get back to the right tackle spot this week.’”
Fisher had similarly encouraging news on Pro Bowl defensive end Robert Quinn, who has missed the past four games due to back and hip issues.
“Rob Quinn had a really good session well before pregame warmups, so we’re encouraged there,’’ the coach said. “He had a good workout today. We’re going to see if we can’t get him back on the practice field here on Wednesday.’’
Fisher continued: “We’re concerned about the back. It’s rest and rehab and core-strengthening. ... We’re going to keep an eye on it. He’s encouraged. He wants to come back, (but) he doesn’t have 100 percent of his lower-body strength right now.’’
And then there’s kicker Greg Zuerlein, who sat out Sunday’s game after being a late Friday addition to the injury report with a right groin strain. On Saturday, the team signed University of Arkansas product Zach Hocker to kick in Sunday’s game. Hocker started the season with New Orleans.
With the rest of the team working indoors Friday, Zuerlein and the other specialists were outside in the rain. Later, the rest of the squad joined them.
“I noticed that he didn’t look right ... so I just shut it down,’’ Fisher said. “A kicker will get tight. He came in and we examined him (and) it was more of a concern well after practice.
“I’d describe it as a hip flexor strain. ... Sometimes, unfortunately, it happens to kickers because there’s a lot of twisting and a lot of torquing that goes on.’’
Fisher does not expect Zuerlein to kick again until late in the week.
“We don’t want to stress the injury,’’ the coach said. “Zach did a good job for us. He hit the good extra point, got the two touchbacks.’’
The Rams have altered their practice schedule this week, giving the players off on Tuesday before practicing Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
“I felt like we needed a day of rest,’’ Fisher said. “Thursday will be ... more of a walkthrough. At this time of year, it’s hard to practice full speed three days a week.’’
• Tight end Justice Cunningham cleared waivers on Monday. He was cut Saturday to make room for kicker Hocker.
• Ex-Rams defensive back Cortland Finnegan has come out of retirement to sign with the Carolina Panthers. Finnegan, 31, was with the Rams in 2012 and 2013, and made 12 starts with the Miami Dolphins in 2014.
• The Philadelphia Eagles signed former Rams C Barrett Jones off the Chicago Bears practice squad. Jones, a fourth-round pick in 2013, was cut by the Rams at the end of training camp in late August.
• Former Rams RB Isaiah Pead cleared waivers after being cut by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pead, a second-round draft pick in 2012, was cut by the Rams on Sept. 29.