Daryl Richardson became a forgotten man in the Rams’ backfield in 2013, and it wasn’t just the emergence of Zac Stacy that pushed him into the background.

A significant turf toe injury in the season opener knocked Richardson’s second NFL season off track, and he never got back on course. Because of the injury, he couldn’t push off the front of the foot. It not only affected his acceleration — probably the best facet of his game — it made planting and cutting difficult.

Such injuries can linger forever, and such was the case with Richardson. Even though he didn’t play in the final eight games, he kept practicing for most of that time. Now that the offseason is here, the Rams want Richardson to stay off the foot and let it heal. There is no surgery planned, according to a source close to Richardson.

As the next to last player selected in the 2012 draft, the Abilene Christian product had a surprisingly effective rookie season for the Rams, rushing for 475 yards and averaging 4.8 yards a carry. With Steven Jackson off to Atlanta, Richardson was named the 2013 opening day starter by coach Jeff Fisher during training camp.

But then came the turf toe injury in the opener against Arizona. Richardson tried to keep playing on it, starting three of the first four games before giving way to Stacy. Other assorted ailments complicated his efforts to get back on the field, and he ended up with disappointing 2013 totals of 214 yards rushing and just 3.1 yards a carry.

After Richardson posted four carries of 20-plus yards as a rookie, including a 53-yarder in Game 2 against Washington, his longest run of 2013 went for a modest 14 yards in the first Seattle game.

As he tries to finally put the turf toe issue behind him, the challenge for Richardson becomes trying to work his way back into the picture at running back. Can he get there?

“Oh yeah, I think definitely,” general manager Les Snead said. “We’ve all seen what he can do. Some injuries derailed him a little bit. ... What you like about the whole thing is as you bring in more players, as we all grow here, there’s more competition.