Rams CB Trumaine Johnson hoping to return Sunday vs Carolina

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) Los Angeles Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson is very hopeful he will return from a high ankle sprain for Sunday's game against Carolina.

Johnson was limited in practice this week, but coach Jeff Fisher said it was only because the Rams were being cautious with their highest-paid player. The team will wait until game time to decide whether Johnson will play.

''I've been testing it all week, and I feel good, so we'll see,'' Johnson said Friday. ''I'm just ready to play, man. I'm tired of losing. I sit out there and I watch my teammates, but I'm ready to get back.''

The Rams' top defensive back hasn't played since Oct. 9, when he incurred an ankle sprain and a bone bruise during a game against Buffalo. Although the secondary is far from their biggest problem, the Rams (3-4) haven't won since Johnson got hurt, dropping three straight before their bye week.

Johnson had seven interceptions last season while starting opposite Janoris Jenkins. After Jenkins left for a lavish free-agent deal with the Giants, Johnson agreed to play this season under the franchise tag, making nearly $14 million.

Johnson said he has watched the replay of his injury ''over and over.'' He was initially angry about the circumstances, but eventually became grateful the damage wasn't much worse.

''It's just part of the game,'' Johnson said. ''I could have broken it.''

The Rams have capably patched holes in their secondary during a relatively healthy season. Troy Hill began the season as a starter opposite Johnson before E.J. Gaines' return from injury, and Hill then started both games in Johnson's absence, gaining valuable experience. Lamarcus Joyner also started the last two games.

''In the secondary, our young guys have stepped up and done really well,'' Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said.

Los Angeles' defense struggled against the Detroit Lions three weeks ago, but played well against Odell Beckham Jr. and the Giants two weeks ago in London. Johnson traveled to England with the club, using the time to get constant rehabilitation work on his leg.

The 6-foot-2 Johnson has the speed and size to contend with larger receivers, including Carolina's Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess.

''I've been playing against big guys all my life,'' Johnson said. ''It's going to be a good matchup for us.''

---

AP NFL websites: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.