Rams running back issues: Malcolm Brown has pinky repaired, Cam Akers questionable
Measured against the injury carnage that befell numerous star NFL players in the second week of the season, the Rams were breathing a sigh of relief Monday as they began turning their attention to Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills.
But they do have injury-related situations that emerged during their 37-19 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
Starting left guard Joe Noteboom will sit out against the Bills because of a calf injury, running back Malcolm Brown will play despite a broken left pinky and running back Cam Akers’ status will be determined as the week progresses because of a rib injury, coach Sean McVay said Monday during a videoconference with reporters.
Brown underwent a procedure Monday to repair a fractured left pinky, McVay said, but the veteran is expected to play with a splint.
Akers, a rookie who started the first two games, suffered a rib cartilage injury that forced him to leave the game in the first quarter against the Eagles. McVay said Akers was “a tough kid” and would not rule him out against the Bills.
“He’ll be able to monitor that and there is a chance that he’s going to play, for sure,” McVay said.
Dr. Neal ElAttrache says the pandemic impacted how players train for seasons, and that disruption created a ripple effect that’s resulted in injuries.
Noteboom’s status beyond Sunday remains unclear. The third-year pro came back from knee surgery that ended his 2019 season after six games. McVay said the Rams were considering putting him on injured reserve.
Second-year pro David Edwards replaced Noteboom during the victory over the Eagles, and will start Sunday. Edwards started 10 games last season after Noteboom and Brian Allen suffered injuries, forcing Austin Blythe to move from guard to center.
That experience paid off Sunday, when the offensive line helped the Rams rush for 191 yards.
“Because of the depth that we have, David was able to seamlessly step in and I didn’t think we missed a beat,” McVay said.
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey and San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, running back Raheem Mostert and defensive end Nick Bosa were among players who suffered knee and ankle injuries on Sunday. Some will be sidelined for the season.
Asked if he thought the lack of a preseason factored into injuries suffered by players, McVay said, “I’m not really sure on that,” because many of the injuries could not be prevented regardless.
He said he felt fortunate that the Rams have thus far avoided a major injury.
“We’re going to continue to try to do everything in our power to control what we can to stay as healthy as possible,” he said. “So far so good.”
Tyler Higbee had a monster game for the Rams in their 37-19 win over the Philadelphia Eagles, scoring three touchdowns to spearhead the high-powered offense.
Against the Eagles, running back Darrell Henderson appeared recovered from the hamstring injury that forced him to sit out the final weeks of training camp and limited his availability in the season-opening victory over the Dallas Cowboys.
Henderson rushed for 81 yards and a touchdown in 12 carries and caught two passes for 40 yards. His workload was heavier than anticipated because Akers left the game in the first quarter and Brown was sidelined in the fourth.
“As a back, once you get your rhythm and your momentum, you feel like can’t nobody stop you,” Henderson said, adding, “I felt like I had the hot hand and I was just taking advantage of my opportunities.”
Henderson said he always would be ready when called upon.
“My mind-set for every game is you never know when it’s going to happen,” he said, “and so you just gotta always expect,” that it will.
The Rams are off Tuesday. They resume practice Wednesday. ... McVay said cornerback Darious Williams, who intercepted a pass against the Eagles, would not practice Wednesday to rest an Achilles issue. ... On the four-year extension receiver Robert Woods signed last week McVay said: “He’s one of the pillars of our program.” ... With rookie Jordan Fuller and veteran John Johnson playing well at safety, Taylor Rapp’s opportunities have been limited. Rapp played 17 of 71 defensive snaps. “Taylor is still going to continue to make an impression and he’s going to make a big impact on this team,” McVay said. “Exactly what that looks like week in a week out,” is still to be determined.
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