Rams running back Todd Gurley lay on his back, his legs encased in NormaTec boots and his feet elevated against a black folding chair.
Defensive backs Marqui Christian and Sam Shields were also among the players jammed in the small room, all wearing the boots that are billed as recovery aids.
Minutes after Sunday’s victory over the Los Angeles Chargers, the Rams began preparing for Thursday night’s game against the Minnesota Vikings at the Coliseum.
“Minnesota starts now,” a Rams trainer called as he hurried through the locker room.
Rams personnel sandwiched 12 massage tables inside the crowded area as postgame interviews unfolded around them. Players lay face down on the blue and black tables, bare feet in the air, as trainers attempted to ease the wear sustained in the hard-fought 35-23 victory.
One cleaned a small cut on receiver Robert Woods’ leg, another massaged quarterback Jared Goff’s shoulders.
No one was still.
“We have a recovery workout basically right now …” center John Sullivan said. “Going Sunday to Thursday is adverse circumstances, it just is what it is.
“But you have to make the best of it to do what you can to get your body back.”
The Rams employed a similar strategy last season.
In Week 2, they lost to the Washington Redskins, then immediately prepped for a Thursday night game against the San Francisco 49ers. The Rams won 41-39.
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is sacked by Rams defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh during a third quarter drive on Sept. 23(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Rams receiver Brandin Cooks hauls in a 17-yard pass over Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward Jr., landing at the one-yard line, setting up the Rams’ first touchdown on Sept. 23.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers throws downfield to receiver Mike Williams for a 16-yard gain during the third quarter on Sept. 23.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Rams quarterback Jared Goff congratulates receiver Brandin Cooks after hooking up for an apparent touchdown pass in the first quarter against the Chargers at the Coliseum.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Chargers receiver Mike Williams dives into the end zone past Rams safety Lamarcus Joyner for a 20-yard touchdown from quarterback Philip Rivers at the Coliseum.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Rams running back Todd Gurley is tackled by Chargers defenders Kyzir White, left, and Derwin James at the Coliseum.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Fans reach for an autograph from Rams receiver Josh Reynolds before a game against the Chargers at the Coliseum.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Chargers receiver Keenan Allen can’t haul in a potential touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter as Rams safety Lamarcus Joyner defends on Spet. 23.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Rams receiver Cooper Kupp slips the tackle of Chargers cornerback Trevor Williams for a 53-yard touchdown pass on Sept. 23.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Rams linebacker Cory Littleton blocks the punt attempt of Chargers punter Drew Kaser, resulting in a Rams touchdown in the second quarter on Sept. 23(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
The Rams aim to replicate that success by repeating their approach.
Not that every player is a fan of Thursday night games.
“Dumbest thing ever,” Gurley said.
To help ease the short turnaround, safety Lamarcus Joyner said the trainers would provide guidance for nutrition and sleep habits, and coach Sean McVay would adjust practice hours to maximize rest.
Sullivan said he expects coaches to emphasize mental reps and extra film rather than physical preparation.
“I can’t imagine there will be one live rep,” Sullivan said. “It’s just too short of a time frame.”
Sullivan was reassured by his familiarity with Vikings coach Mike Zimmer’s defensive scheme. Sullivan played for the Vikings for seven seasons before he was released in 2016.
In 2017, the Rams lost to the Vikings 24-7 at Minnesota. The defeat provides relative familiarity and areas of focus for Thursday’s game.
The Rams are 3-0 after the 35-23 victory over the Chargers. The Vikings are 1-1-1 after losing to the Buffalo Bills 27-6 on their home field.
“Them not doing as well as they hoped, they’re gonna be hungry coming out here,” defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh said. “A game on the road, short week, allows them to forget about it really quickly, prepare for our game.
The Rams plan to do the same.
About an hour after Sunday’s game, as Rams personnel continued massages, a player pedaled on a stationary bike. A bundle of green elastic bands and muscle rollers awaited nearby.
In a clearing on the floor, one trainer started to lead a circle of seven players in guided stretches. His voice, low and steady, created a calming rhythm that began to command the bustling locker room around him.
Some peace before the frantic week ahead.
“We’re still gonna pay full attention to them, like we would do any other team, but just start the process immediately…” tight end Gerald Everett said. “We really have no time to waste.”