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Rams

Rams’ Brandin Cooks won’t play Sunday at Steelers, but Clay Matthews should

The Rams’ Clay Matthews, who was sidelined because of a broken jaw, is happy to be back on the practice field.
The Rams’ Clay Matthews, who was sidelined because of a broken jaw, is happy to be back on the practice field.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Rams receiver Brandin Cooks was declared out for Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers because of a concussion, but linebacker Clay Matthews practiced Wednesday for the first time since suffering a broken jaw and said he planned to play against the Steelers at Heinz Field.

Coach Sean McVay said Cooks was traveling to Pittsburgh on Wednesday to meet for a second time with a concussion specialist. Cooks was in Pittsburgh last week after suffering his second concussion of the season during the Rams’ Oct. 27 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in London.

Cooks also suffered a concussion last season, and one the season before in the Super Bowl while playing for the New England Patriots. Cooks and the Rams are continuing to gather information, McVay said.

“There’s no setbacks, anything like that, it’s all moving in the right direction,” McVay said, “but … you can’t be smart enough with the human being, more than anything, with something like this. And that’s exactly the precautionary measures that we’re taking.”

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Josh Reynolds will start in place of Cooks.

Matthews was injured in an Oct. 3 loss to the Seahawks in Seattle. He said he was sore after the game but did not realize his jaw was broken until he went to the doctor after experiencing discomfort while eating breakfast the next day. Wires were removed after 2½ weeks, and he had braces for about another week, Matthews said.

For the first time under Sean McVay, the Rams aren’t in the top two of the NFC West with eight games to play, but there are opportunities ahead for the 5-3 team.

He put his helmet on Monday and was limited Wednesday.

“You can’t simulate the rigors of an actual NFL game but this was as close as it can get and it felt pretty good,” Matthews said. “So hopefully we’ll keep progressing.

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“I anticipate myself being out there on Sunday barring anything unforeseen.”

Matthews also said he was appealing a $12,500 fine by the NFL for a tweet he posted last month that was critical of officials and Al Riveron, the league’s senior vice-president of officiating, for their handling of roughing-the-passer penalties.

Running back Malcolm Brown, who sat out the last two games because of an ankle injury, was limited but said he was progressing toward a possible return against the Steelers.


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