How long will Rams Aaron Donald, Matthew Stafford be missing? They won’t face Seattle
During eight-plus NFL seasons, Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald has been an ironman.
Since being selected with the 13th pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the three-time NFL defensive player of the year never missed a game because of injury.
That will change Sunday.
Coach Sean McVay said Wednesday Donald will sit out against the Seattle Seahawks because of a high ankle sprain suffered during last Sunday’s defeat by the Kansas City Chiefs, a loss that dropped the Rams’ record to 3-8 and extended their losing streak to five games.
Along with Donald, the Rams’ most important player on offense also will be sidelined against the Seahawks.
Rams-Chiefs takeaways: L.A. was missing its starting quarterback and receivers, so Bryce Perkins and the young receivers stepped up as the defense tried to keep Chiefs under control.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford remains in concussion protocol because of what McVay has described as a neck issue, and McVay said that it was “safe to say” Stafford would be out.
John Wolford or Bryce Perkins will start in Stafford’s place.
Donald’s injury is “nothing that will require surgery,” McVay said. But Donald’s absence Sunday, and perhaps beyond, will be felt by a team that relies heavily on the seven-time All-Pro.
“So much of it is built around him,” McVay said of the defense. “He’s truly one of one. You don’t replace anybody like him. ... The way he works, the way he brings others along with him, and so it’s a huge loss for us.”
Rams defensive players said they would rally around Donald and each other.
“It’s going to take every guy up front to match that same level that A.D. brings,” said edge-rusher Leonard Floyd, who is tied with Donald for the team lead with five sacks. “It’s going to be good though. I believe our guys are going to answer the challenge.”
Greg Gaines, Marquise Copeland and Bobby Brown will get extended opportunities in Donald’s absence.
“We’re going to stick together, we’re going to have him as our older, big brother, our leader,” Copeland said. “He’s going to get us together and we’re going play together and we’re going to get the job done for sure.”
Donald, 31, has missed only two games in his career. In 2017, after not attending training camp because of a contract dispute and reporting on the eve of the season opener, he was held out of the first game. Donald did not play in the season finale because McVay opted to rest starters before the playoffs.
Last Sunday against the Chiefs, Donald was injured during the first quarter, McVay said. But Donald played nearly the entire game and finished with three tackles.
“That’s what makes Aaron, Aaron,” McVay said. “He’s unbelievable. To be able to play through that, the toughness, everything that he embodies is what you love about Aaron Donald.”
The Times’ Sam Farmer analyzes each matchup and predicts the winners in NFL Week 13. The Eagles will take down the Titans while the Chargers win and Rams lose.
Donald joined a seemingly endless list of injured Rams starters, including Stafford and several marquee players. Receiver Cooper Kupp will remain on injured reserve for at least two more games, and receiver Allen Robinson was scheduled to have season-ending foot surgery this week.
Sunday’s game will be the third that Stafford will sit out because he is in concussion protocol.
On. Nov. 13 Wolford started against the Arizona Cardinals. He completed 24 of 36 passes for 212 yards and a touchdown, with an interception, in a 27-17 defeat. Wolford did not practice the next week because of a neck injury, and he was not active for a Nov. 20 game against the New Orleans Saints.
Stafford started that game but was removed in the second half after he was sacked and reported numbness in his legs. Perkins came on and led two field-goal drives.
Last Sunday, in his first NFL start, Perkins completed 13 of 23 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown, with two interceptions, against the Chiefs. He also rushed for 44 yards in nine carries.
Wolford has experience against the Seahawks.
In the 2020 season, after leading the Rams to victory in a season-ending victory over the Cardinals, he started an NFC wild-card playoff game at Seattle.
Wolford completed three of six passes 29 yards before he was injured on a designed running play. Seahawks safety Jamal Adams tackled Wolford, who was taken to the hospital by ambulance because of a neck injury.
Running back Cam Akers and offensive lineman Oday Aboushi did not practice because of illness, per the Rams’ injury report. Linebackers Ernest Jones (back), Terrell Lewis (back) and Travin Howard (hip) and receiver Lance McCutcheon (shoulder) also did not participate. Center Brian Allen (thumb), cornerback Troy Hill (groin) and offensive lineman Ty Nsekhe (ankle) were limited. ... Rookie outside linebacker Daniel Hardy was designated to return to practice from injured reserve. ... The Rams signed receiver Jaquarii Roberson to the practice squad.
Go beyond the scoreboard
Get the latest on L.A.'s teams in the daily Sports Report newsletter.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.