Rams star Aaron Donald will start Sunday despite prolonged holdout

Throughout Aaron Donald's prolonged holdout, Rams teammates noted that the star defensive lineman was no doubt at home in Pittsburgh working out and keeping himself in shape.

Donald appeared fit after reporting to the team facility this week, but there was still a question about how long it would take him to get into football shape.


Not long, apparently.

After practicing only three times, Donald will start Sunday against the Washington Redskins, coach Sean McVay said Friday.

"As far as how we approach that game, that's something that we'll figure out in the next 48 hours," McVay said. "But he's going to go unless something changes between then.

"The snap count and how many plays he plays is yet to be determined."

Donald's return has further buoyed a defense that dominated the Indianapolis Colts without him in last week's 46-9 victory.

Donald reported Saturday, worked out Monday and then practiced for the first time Wednesday. He went through a full-pads practice Thursday and another practice Friday.

The three-time Pro Bowl selection will be part of a pass-rushing front that includes tackle Michael Brockers and linebackers Robert Quinn and Connor Barwin.

Ethan Westbrooks, Tyrunn Walker and rookie Tanzel Smart are expected to play in a rotation with Donald, who has 28 career sacks.

Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said there is a difference between being in shape and being in football shape.

"You're carrying a lot more weight with pads on and so forth," Phillips said this week. "But he doesn't seem to be bothered too much by the reps we're giving him in practice.

"It's not wearing him out."


Cornerback Kayvon Webster was limited in practice Friday and is questionable for Sunday's game because of a shoulder injury. If he does not play, Nickell Robey-Coleman would start in his place.


Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @latimesklein