THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Rams head coach Sean McVay on Monday said quarterback Matthew Stafford sustained a UCL sprain in his right thumb against the Cowboys and is day-to-day.
Given the Rams had concerns Stafford's injury could have been worse, McVay said a sprain was encouraging news.
"I think we're taking it a day at a time," McVay said during a video conference with reporters Monday. "We definitely have to get some contingency plans in order. We've obviously got (backup quarterback) Brett (Rypien) on the roster, and there's some other possibilities that we'll explore and that we're in the midst of working through once I get off with you guys today."
McVay said Stafford initially got his right thumb hit on the throw to the corner route to wide receiver Puka Nacua in the redzone on the Rams' drive toward the end of the first half. After the Rams' failed 2-point conversion at the end of that drive, TV replays showed Stafford's thumb hitting the helmet of a Cowboys defensive lineman. McVay said doctors checked Stafford's thumb after that failed 2-point conversion, and that Stafford's thumb was stable. McVay said it wasn't something that restricted Stafford's ability to play.
However, on the Rams' successful 2-point conversion, Stafford's thumb got caught on the turf as he dove to make that catch. McVay said it was that play that caused Stafford to leave Sunday's game in Dallas and not return.
McVay said there's no concern about Stafford's previous thumb injury. However, McVay said there is some swelling, some bruising and some scar tissue, so the sprain "absolutely" affects how Stafford grips the football.
Stafford was replaced by Rypien, who completed 5 of 10 pass attempts for 42 yards. While McVay said it was "hard to say" what stood about about the way Rypien came into Sunday's game and took over, it's party because it was a "really tough situation" in regards to running the offense. Still, McVay praised Rypien for his work over the past several weeks leading the scout team offense during practice.
"He's done a great job," McVay said. "I think he improved. He approaches every single week with an intentionality to really be able to say, 'Alright, if these are the reps that I'm getting, how can I get better? How can I play within the timing and rhythm?' I think he's done a great job of mimicking and emulating the opposing team's quarterback, the cadence, all those different things. But I just think the consistency at which he's approached his craft and the intentionality has allowed him to improve, and he's done a really nice job with that role."
McVay confirmed the Rams are exploring signing another quarterback. The Rams have carried two quarterbacks for the majority of the season, which McVay said was due to the unforeseen circumstance of rookie Stetson Bennett's situation.
Bennett is still on the Reserve/NFI list, and McVay said that there is no update in regards to Bennett being back with the team.
"I'm not ready to say that he won't be back with us at all this year," McVay said, "but it's probably less like than it is likely he would be."
Just like any injured veteran player, McVay said Stafford's feedback is "key and critical" in determining whether he plays.
"I think in a lot of instances, so much of that is about the dialogue and the discussion in regards to how is he feeling?" McVay said. "What does he feel like he's able to do? We would love to be able to have him available for us, but not at the expense of pushing it and making sure that you're not leaving him susceptible to anything unnecessary. And you want to make sure that you're setting them up for success."
Updates on Havenstein, Durant, Trammell, Nacua and Ethan Evans
In terms of other injury updates, McVay said they are continuing to monitor offensive lineman Rob Havenstein (calf) and that Havenstein is day-to-day.
Defensive back Cobie Durant's shoulder injury in the first half of Sunday's game turned out to be a stinger in his neck. McVay said Durant will likely be a limited participant in Wednesday's practice, "but he should be okay."
Wide receiver and punt returner Austin Trammell sustained a hip injury on one of his punt returners, but McVay said Trammell "should be okay."
Wide receiver Puka Nacua "had some knee swelling," and the Rams will "be smart" with him on Wednesday.
Additionally, punter Ethan Evans suffered an ankle sprain on one of the Cowboys' punt returns.
"We'll see how he's doing," McVay said of Evans.