Rams’ Kupp to IR after ankle surgery; OL Jackson, Brewer out
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles Rams receiver Cooper Kupp will have surgery on his sprained right ankle, sidelining the Super Bowl MVP for at least the next four weeks while on injured reserve.
Starting left tackle Alaric Jackson will miss the rest of the year because of blood clots, and starting right guard Chandler Brewer will be out four to six weeks after knee surgery, coach Sean McVay said Tuesday while revealing the latest injury setbacks to the defending champions’ dismal season.
Kupp, the AP’s Offensive Player of the Year last season after winning the triple crown of receiving, sprained his ankle in the Rams’ 27-17 loss to Arizona last Sunday. He needs surgery Wednesday that is likely to sideline the Rams’ top offensive player for several weeks, but McVay did not rule out a return this season for his top offensive playmaker.
“Obviously you never, ever replace a player like Cooper Kupp,” McVay said. “But we’ve got to figure out the best way to accentuate the skillsets of the guys that will be playing.”
Kupp currently is second in the NFL with 75 catches, while his 812 yards receiving and six TD receptions are fifth. He was injured when he landed awkwardly after trying to catch a poorly thrown pass from backup quarterback John Wolford.
Matthew Stafford could return this week at New Orleans after missing a game in the concussion protocol, but he won’t have his favorite target.
Kupp has accounted for more than 35% of the Rams’ receptions this season, the highest rate for any player in the league. Their second-leading receiver, tight end Tyler Higbee, has 31 fewer catches than Kupp.
McVay said the recovery time for Kupp’s procedure is typically five to six weeks. The Rams (3-6) have eight games left in their season.
“This is unfortunately just part of the game,” Kupp tweeted. “Appreciate having a trusted medical team around me. Gonna get this thing fixed, then get back to work to get back to work!”
Kupp’s absence, along with injuries to two more offensive line starters, will be another collective setback for Los Angeles’ struggling offense, which is 31st in the NFL in yards per game (282.7), 29th in scoring (16.4) and last in yards rushing (68.1).
“What we have to really be able to do is figure out what is the best way for us to utilize the players that we’re expecting to play, what do they do best, and then how does that get reflected in the way that you’re trying to attack certain schemes,” McVay said.
Jackson had been praised since taking over at left tackle for injured Joseph Noteboom, but the undrafted free agent from Iowa needs medication for blood clots that will keep him out for the season, McVay said. Jackson had started six games this season at guard and tackle.
Brewer, who beat non-Hodgkin lymphoma in college, began the season on the Rams’ practice squad. He joined the starting lineup for the past two games and performed well while finally getting an offensive role after four years on LA’s roster. He continued to play after hurting his knee against the Cardinals, impressing McVay.
The Rams will have their 10th different starting combination in 10 games on the offensive line when they visit the Saints on Sunday. Ty Nsekhe, the 37-year-old veteran who joined the Rams last month, is likely to continue at left tackle after starting against Arizona.
Stafford was still in the NFL’s concussion protocol Tuesday morning.
“We are hopeful to get a little bit more clarity on some of those things this afternoon, whether that means he’s out of it or whether he’ll continue to remain in it,” McVay said.
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