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Rams’ Cooper Kupp clears up mystery injury from last season

Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp runs a pattern.
Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp had more knee issues last season.
(Elaine Thompson / Associated Press)

In 2018, Rams receiver Cooper Kupp missed the team’s run to the Super Bowl because of a season-ending left knee injury.

Last season, a right knee injury sidelined Kupp for the NFC divisional-round playoff defeat to the Green Bay Packers.

Kupp said Wednesday that he was “feeling great” and had “no issues” post injury as the Rams continue offseason workouts with new quarterback Matthew Stafford in preparation for the 2021 season.

In a videoconference with reporters, Kupp also said that while he dealt with knee bursitis during the 2020 season, that was not the condition that caused him to sit out against the Packers.

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In the Rams’ wild-card victory over the Seattle Seahawks, Kupp left the game in the fourth quarter. Kupp said Wednesday that he suffered a “de-gloving injury,” with a French name that he could not recall. Kupp suffered a Morel-Lavalle’e lesion, in which skin and tissue separate from underlying tissue.

“It’s not a pretty thing but it was a degloving injury,” he said. “It wasn’t bursitis.”

“I think we had, I don’t know, 12 to 15 needles put in my knee that week.”

Rams Cooper Kupp, on injury last season

Kupp spent the days leading up to the game against the Packers at Lambeau Field working with medical staff to try to play.

Rams Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods celebrate on the field.
Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods continue to lead the receiving corps.
(Ronald Martinez / Getty Images)

“I think we had, I don’t know, 12 to 15 needles put in my knee that week just trying to figure out how to either numb the pain or pulling fluid out,” he said. “All the different things, trying to just get back on the field.”

The determination that he could not play came down to the “last second,” Kupp said.

“It was heart-breaker,” he said.

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Now Kupp, 27, is part of a remade receiver corps that includes Robert Woods, DeSean Jackson, Van Jefferson and rookie Tutu Atwell.

Without a deep threat to stretch defense last season, the Rams added speed with veteran DeSean Jackson and second-round draft pick Tutu Atwell.

Woods signed with the Rams in 2017 after playing four seasons with the Buffalo Bills. Kupp was a third-round draft pick in 2017. Both received extensions in 2020.

“Me and Cooper been here the longest, so really just taking that leadership role,” Woods said last week.

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The 34-year-old Jackson, a 13-year NFL veteran, still has superior speed and is acclimating to the Rams offense, Kupp said. The addition of the speedy Atwell, a second-round draft pick from Louisville, gives Stafford multiple targets.

“We’ve got such a deep group of guys and really the next best thing about it is that guys aren’t just locked in on one position,” Kupp said. “You really feel like you’ve got five guys that can play every position that you ask them to. ... Not knowing where guys are going to end up at makes it really fun for us to be able to move around in this offense.”

Kupp spent the first four years of his career catching passes from quarterback Jared Goff. The wideout has 288 receptions, 24 for touchdowns. Kupp and Woods last season ranked among the NFL’s best receivers at yardage gained after a catch.

In January, the Rams traded Goff and two first-round draft picks to the Detroit Lions for Stafford, a 12-year veteran. Kupp said he had had dinner with Stafford’s family and was developing chemistry with him off and on the field.

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Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford opened up in an interview, including his decision to ask for a trade and an eating contest he had with Clayton Kershaw.

Organized team activities the last few weeks have enabled receivers working with Stafford to “see the field through his lens,” Kupp said, “and understand what Matthew wants us to do at receiver and how he wants us to run our routes and the holes he wants us to find.”

Kupp said the Rams training staff will have a plan in place to manage all players’ health and workload during a season that will feature a 17-game schedule for the first time.

His knee injury at the end of last season “was just kind of a freaky thing” and could not be prevented, he said.

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“Just moving forward from it,” he said.


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