A few days remain before the Rams play the San Francisco 49ers. Rams running back Todd Gurley will spend them working with the training and medical staffs to speed the healing of a left thigh bruise that could possibly sideline him for Sunday’s NFC West showdown at the Coliseum.
The condition was “getting better,” Gurley said Thursday.
Will he play against the unbeaten 49ers?
“Got Friday and Saturday,” Gurley said during his weekly news conference. “Just worrying about trying to get back right and make that decision, I guess, when the time comes.”
Gurley, already the subject of much scrutiny because of a left knee issue that slowed him at the end of last season, suffered the thigh injury during the Rams’ 30-29 loss to the Seattle Seahawks last Thursday night in Seattle, a loss that dropped the Rams’ record to 3-2 and 0-1 in the division.
Gurley said he felt something during the game but adrenaline apparently took over and he played through it. During a few days off that followed, soreness set in.
“It kept lingering on,” he said, “but it’s been getting a lot better.”
With extreme winds gusting Thursday, the Rams held a walk-through rather than a practice. Gurley and cornerback Aqib Talib, who suffered a rib injury against the Seahawks, did not participate but they had been scheduled to observe, coach Sean McVay said before the walk-through.
Gurley said he was working with the training staff during rehabilitation sessions to test his readiness.
“It’s more and more one of those things like you have to put it through pain — like pain is pleasure,” he said. “You don’t want to do it, but you have to do it because that’s the only way it’s going to make it feel better.”
If Gurley cannot play against the 49ers, the Rams will turn to Malcolm Brown and rookie Darrell Henderson.
“If that’s the case,” Brown said, “I’ll be ready.”
Brown signed a two-year, $3.3-million contract before the season. He has rushed for 114 yards and two touchdowns but has had only 15 carries and no touchdowns since the season opener against the Carolina Panthers.
Henderson, a third-round draft pick, carried the ball once for no gain against the Panthers but has not played on offense since. Before Gurley’s latest injury came to light, McVay had said he needed to do a better job as the play-caller to develop Henderson and get him more involved.
“It’s exciting because I feel like I work hard for those opportunities,” Henderson said, “and I’m just ready to take advantage of and show everybody that I belong.”
Henderson, the second-leading rusher in the Football Bowl Subdivision last season at Memphis, said he has watched and learned from Gurley and Brown.
“It’s just going to help me be prepared when it’s my turn,” he said.
Henderson has played on special teams since the opener, giving him more opportunities to learn from Gurley and Brown, he said.
“I feel like I’m better prepared than I was then,” he said. “It’s just about getting into your playbook, and I think I did a pretty job of that, knowing that I got to be in the right spot at the right time when it’s my turn.”
Gurley said he has confidence in Henderson.
“If I’m not able to go, this is his time to be able to showcase why he’s been drafted, why he’s the player he is,” Gurley said. “Definitely have confidence in Malcolm and Darrell, J.K. [John Kelly]. Whoever it is, I know they’ll do a great job.”
If Talib is not able to play against the 49ers, Troy Hill would start in his place, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said.
Hill started seven games last season after Talib suffered an ankle injury.
After the Rams lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 29, they did walk-throughs before playing the Seahawks four days later. The Rams did not practice again until Wednesday. If they practice Friday, they will go into Sunday’s game having practiced only twice since the loss to the Buccaneers. Of Thursday’s windy conditions, McVay said, “To go out there, I don’t think it would really benefit us. Especially when you’re talking about the timing and rhythm with some of the things with guys that are controlling the football and handling the football, just with the elements out there. But, it does give us a chance to really lock in, have a great above-the-neck day.”