THOUSAND OAKS, Calif .: Los Angeles Rams running back Darrell Henderson will be a game decision against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
Coach Sean McVay said Henderson’s availability would likely depend on pain tolerance after injuring his ribs in the opening game of the fourth quarter in the Rams’ 27-24 victory at Indianapolis.
Sony Michel did 10 carries for 46 yards on relief and would likely start against Tampa Bay if Henderson couldn’t play. Rookie Jake Funk, a seventh-round draft pick, could also be up for an expanded role.
You want to use as much time as we have, but we have contingency plans in place. And if that’s the case, then those other guys will be asked to step up, McVay said on Friday.
Henderson hasn’t trained this week. He has 123 rushing yards and two touchdowns in 29 carries in two games, as well as four receptions for 46 yards.
McVay prepared as if Henderson wouldn’t be available, so it ends up being a bonus if he can go, he said.
If Henderson does not play, the Rams would be deprived of their four best projected fullbacks. Cam Akers, who was due to start after finishing his rookie season on a high note, tore his Achilles tendon before the start of training camp. Raymond Calais suffered a season-ending foot injury in the second preseason game, and Xavier Jones was ruled out with an injury designation after injuring his ankle in the last preseason game.
Those injuries, along with a series of fears for Henderson, prompted the Rams to acquire Michel from New England in a trade on August 25.
Michel, who is in his fourth year in the NFL and scored the only touchdown in the Patriots’ Super Bowl victory over the Rams in the 2018 season, said his goal this week was to continue to hone his understanding. of the McVays offensive.
I have to be prepared, said Michel. Whether I start or not, if I am not prepared I will not be good, so my only goal right now is to be prepared, to learn the playbook, to try to study more.
The offense turned to the pass to start the season, with Matthew Stafford completing 39 of 56 for 599 yards and five touchdowns against an interception, while the rushing produced 175 yards on 52 attempts. But Funk is happy that the Rams managed to throw the ball around to wrap up wins, including what Michel did against the Colts.
It just shows the capabilities of our attack, Funk said. Could have had a quarterback like Matthew there and then be able to throw the ball when needed. So we were just growing up as an offense and I think there are good things to come.
If Henderson is inactive, Buddy Howell would likely be called up from the practice squad to give the Rams some extra depth. Howell, a fourth-year Florida Atlantic return, has primarily played on special teams for Houston for the past three seasons.
Elsewhere, the injury toll is favorable. Outside linebacker Leonard Floyd is expected to play after he returns to training on Friday. Floyd was detained earlier in the week with a lingering ankle injury.
Cornerback Darious Williams has missed practice due to an illness unrelated to COVID-19, but McVay doesn’t expect this to affect his availability against the Buccaneers.
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