It's never ideal to lose a starter for any period of time, but the Rams may have escaped Sunday's injury scare with better news than anticipated on at least one of their starting cornerbacks.
At his Monday press conference, head coach Sean McVay said cornerback Marcus Peters suffered a calf strain rather than an ankle injury and is considered day-to-day. In fact, Peters could play in Thursday's game against the Vikings if he responds well enough to treatment.
"That was really encouraging news," McVay said of Peters.
Cornerback Aqib Talib, however, will be out for a much longer period of time. McVay said Talib is seeking a second opinion on his ankle injury, but the veteran cornerback may require surgery.
"More than likely, he's going to have something that will probably require surgery, but hopefully we'll get him back at some point in time and he'll handle it the right way and do everything he can to get back sooner than later," McVay said.
There is a possibility that Talib could go on injured reserve — since teams are now allowed to bring back two players from the list. But there are other factors that will go into that — like wide receivers Pharoh Cooper and Mike Thomas already being candidates to return.
"As far as what we do with Aqib, I think that's going to be dependent upon the nature of, what does the timetable look like? There's a couple different layers to it, but if we did do something like that, he's certainly a guy that we would definitely want to be able to bring back at some point," McVay said. "Now, we don't have to designate that until you have to decide to bring that person off of it. There's a couple elements to it. As far as that's concerned, I think we'll wait until we get the other information to be able to give you the full answer to that question."
When it comes to replacing the cornerbacks, the Rams do have the benefit of experience. Cornerback Sam Shields started 62 games for the Packers between 2010 and 2016. Troy Hill started for the Rams down the stretch following starter Kayvon Webster's season-ending achilles injury last year. And Nickell Robey-Coleman in heavily involved in the Rams' nickel and dime defensive packages.
"I think we've got a lot of confidence in those guys," McVay said. "When we had to tighten up, I thought those guys did a nice job. And to be able to step in on short notice, that was something that, ultimately, they were their best at the end of the game when we had to be, and I thought that was good.
"But to have guys who have played a lot of football for us — or played a lot of football in this league — is extremely important, and they'll definitely get those reps in," McVay continued. "I think we'll have a better idea of the approach with regards to Marcus — if it's going to be something that they are going to need to play and play a lot of snaps, or if they've got to be ready if for whatever reason [Peters] can go, but that thing isn't feeling as good you'd like where they might be called on at some point."
Though outside linebacker Dominique Easley left the contest a couple of times due to a knee issue, McVay said he has a chance to play on Thursday night as well.
Check out game photos from the Rams' Week 3 matchup against the Chargers at the Coliseum.
"Looking at his knee, just the amount of toll that's been placed on that thing based on the previous things he's gone through — what a great story it is. But we're anticipating that he's going to be questionable and he might be ready to go as well."
As for JoJo Natson, McVay said the returner underwent surgery on his left hand on Monday. While he'll be out for Thursday's contest against the Vikings, he could be back as soon as the Week 5 matchup against Seattle.
"Based on the nature of that injury and being his left hand, how he carries the football and things like that — he'll be out for this Thursday. But there's a chance that he might be ready to go for the Seattle game following this game," McVay said.
Check out photos of the Rams taking on the Vikings throughout the years.
McVay noted that because it's a short week, the Rams will likely keep their same operation as it would have been on Sunday sans Natson when it comes to the return game. Safety Blake Countess fielded kickoffs, and averaged 25.5 yards on two returns. And wide receiver Cooper Kupp will likely field punts.
Here's the full injury report for both teams. Neither the Rams nor Vikings practiced on Monday, which makes the report an estimate for what the players would have done in preparation for Thursday Night Football.
Notably for Minnesota, starting left tackle Riley Reiff would not have practiced with a foot issue. Defensive end Everyone Griffen and running back Dalvin Cook did not play in Sunday's game against Buffalo and also would not have practiced on Monday.
LOS ANGELES RAMS
DID NOT PARTICIPATE
ILB Mark Barron (ankle)
OLB Dominique Easley (knee)
PR/KR JoJo Natson (hand)
CB Marcus Peters (calf)
CB Aqib Talib (ankle)
K Greg Zuerlein (groin)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE
CB Marcus Sherels (ribs)
DE Everson Griffen (knee/not injury related)
RB Dalvin Cook (hamstring)
OT Riley Reiff (foot)
S Anthony Harris (hamstring)
CB Trae Waynes (ankle)
OT Rashod Hill (foot)
TE David Morgan (knee)
CB Holton Hill (ankle)
C Pat Elfein (ankle)