THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp returned to practice on Wednesday, the first step in a ramp-up of his workload over the course of this week.
While Kupp was officially listed as a limited participant, McVay said before Wednesday's practice that it would be a normal one for Kupp.
"We'll see how he's feeling and we'll progress him as the week goes," McVay said.
Kupp being back on the practice field officially opened the 21-day window for the Rams to activate him off of Injured Reserve and onto the 53-man roster. He had been IR on since the beginning of the regular season after re-aggravating a hamstring injury from training camp. That second instance of the hamstring issue prompted a trip to Minnesota to visit a specialist last month.
"I think playing football is the best checkpoint," McVay said, when asked about conversations regarding Kupp's checkpoints. "Getting out into some practice settings where guys are leaning on him, being able to work some of the things that end up coming up. He's put in a lot of work behind the scenes with (VP of Sports Medicine and Performance) Reggie (Scott) and his group to be able to rehab and get himself to where he's feeling good. And like we talked about last week, he said he's feeling really good. I trust him. He's a guy that really knows his body really well, very experienced player and so there will be an ongoing dialogue We want to be smart as we kind of ramp up his workload throughout the course of the week with the goal of him being ready to go and we'll see exactly what that looks like as the week progresses."
In terms of what McVay wants to see from Kupp in his first practice back, McVay said he "just wants to see (Kupp) play," while also reiterating what he's said before about aiming for "return to performance" for Kupp.
"You guys have heard me reference this before, I think (Head Team Physician Dr.) Neal ElAttrache has a great way of saying it, when guys are coming off of injuries or some setbacks there's a difference between returning to play and returning to performance," McVay said. "We want to see him be able to return to performance, look like the Cooper Kupp that we know, and it'll be good to have him out there."
McVay said evaluating Kupp while gameplanning for the Eagles is just part of the process and "a positive thing" for the Rams. It's no different than any other game week that requires adjusting and adapting, whether that be during the week or the game itself.
"For us it's about, all right, well let's see this part of the game plan where we emphasize your early down parts of the game plan, let's see what we think is the best way if he's able to go, to utilize him," McVay said. "If he's not, who are those people that would supplement those roles or what does it look like in the previous weeks? We'll see how today goes and then that'll give us a better idea of what it looks like as we incrementally put in the game plan throughout the course of the week."
In the meantime, simply just having him back out there on the practice field was a positive sight for the Rams.
"It was awesome," quarterback Matthew Stafford said. "I was happy for him first and foremost. The amount of work that he's put in to getting back to being out on the practice field. So just happy for him that he was out there moving around and looking good."