Inside linebacker Mark Barron has missed the vast majority of the last three games with a pair of injury issues. Barron played the first three defensive snaps in Los Angeles' victory over the Seahawks in Week 15 before departing with a knee injury. Then Barron was a surprise inactive for the Week 16 win against the Titans, as an Achilles issue became too much to play through.
Barron was one of the many starters to get rest against the 49ers, too, having missed practice all week with the same Achilles issue. But head coach Sean McVay said Monday that Barron appears to be on track to play in Sunday's playoff game against the Falcons.
"As far as Mark Barron's concerned – really, he would be the only guy that you're talking about — he feels good. And I think his mindset and mentality is, he's getting ready to play [in] a playoff game on Saturday night," McVay said. "I think this week will serve him well, giving him that time off. And then we'll get a couple extra days, and we'll see how he feels on Wednesday and try to ramp it up. And that will give us a really good gage of if we can expect him to play. But things are looking good for him."
Because the Rams are playing Saturday night, their practice schedule has shifted to where Wednesday's session will be more like a regular Thursday. And Thursday is when Los Angeles has typically held its most intense practice of the week.
Last Friday, McVay said Barron's Achilles issue affects how he can move from sideline-to-sideline and redirect — which is important for how he plays as a linebacker. L.A. has felt good about linebacker Cory Littleton's ability to step up and fill in for Barron — he had both a sack and an interception against Tennessee. But the Rams would certainly like to have Barron on the field.
"Mark's going to always do the best that he can and it's something where it's just bothered him too much the last couple of weeks," McVay said Friday.
Elsewhere on the injury front, McVay said cornerback Troy Hill checked out well and did not suffer a concussion in Sunday's game. Defensive back Blake Countess, however, is in the concussion protocol. McVay said L.A. head trainer Reggie Scott is optimistic about how Countess felt on Monday.