It’s been a tough season for Rams star receiver Cooper Kupp, with seemingly one setback after another.
But there was a modicum of good news Monday.
The right ankle injury that knocked Kupp out of the Rams’ victory over the Seattle Seahawks was determined to be only a lateral sprain, coach Sean McVay said.
Kupp will be day to day heading into Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.
Will he play?
McVay was noncommittal.
“It’s definitely favorable, where that’s a real possibility that he would be available,” McVay said during a video conference with reporters. “It’s not something where you’re saying he’s definitely going to be out for this week.
“But you want to see the functionality.”
The Rams offense will get a boost against the Cardinals with the return of running back Kyren Williams from injured reserve.
The Rams will need Kupp, however, to remain in the hunt for a playoff spot in the wide-open NFC.
The ankle injury is the latest setback for the 2021 NFL offensive player of the year. In 2022, Kupp suffered a season-ending ankle injury against the Cardinals that required surgery.
Kupp started this season on injured reserve because of a hamstring injury suffered during training camp. He returned in Week 5 and caught passes for more than 100 yards in each of his first two games.
He has not been the same since.
Kupp went into the game against the Seahawks with only eight catches for 98 yards in the previous three games. On Sunday, he had one reception for 11 yards.
With Kupp sidelined in the second half, the Rams rallied for a 17-16 victory that ended a three-game losing streak and improved their record to 4-6.
“When he’s out there, we all know what a unique and special player that he is,” McVay said. “He brings a great presence to our offense. But we’ve got to be able to continue to adapt and adjust.”
Against the Seahawks, Austin Trammell, Ben Skowronek and Demarcus Robinson combined to replace Kupp and augmented starters Puka Nacua and Tutu Atwell.
“It’s never fun to see a guy like him that means so much to us go down and not be available,” McVay said, “but it has been cool to see the response from a lot of guys that have stepped up.”
Nacua has a team-best 69 catches, which ranks ninth in the NFL. He ranks sixth with 897 yards receiving.
Atwell has 33 catches for 391 yards and three touchdowns. Tight end Tyler Higbee has 27 catches for 303 yards.
Nacua said he did not feel extra pressure when Kupp was out of the game against the Seahawks.
“I don’t necessarily feel like it was all on me,” said Nacua, who is nursing a shoulder injury. “It was a group effort.”
Trammell, who has played mostly as a kick returner, caught three passes for 23 yards against the Seahawks. Nacua said Trammell was “a big spark for us when Coop went down.”
Trammell practices at all three receiver spots. He said he knows the offense “inside and out” and would remain ready if called upon.
“It’s all preparation,” he said. “Being ready when your number’s called.”
Williams is ready to return after being sidelined four games because of an ankle injury. The second-year pro has rushed for a team-high 456 yards and scored seven touchdowns.
“It will be great to be able to get him back,” McVay said. “His productivity, his play energy, his overall just presence.”
Darrell Henderson and Royce Freeman have rotated at running back during Williams’ absence.
Against the Seahawks, Henderson rushed for a touchdown and Freeman rushed for 73 yards.
“It will be great to be able to continue to see those guys develop,” McVay said, “but get Kyren back into the mix and do his thing and, hopefully, pick up where he left off.”