Overall the Rams have remained pretty healthy throughout the course of the 2018 season. But there are a few key players who have not been able to play for some time.
Three of them are on injured reserve: cornerback Aqib Talib, wide receiver/returner Pharoh Cooper, and wide receiver Mike Thomas. All three of them were placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury.
Los Angeles, however, will have the option to bring back only two off of injured reserve. Head coach Sean McVay said on Thursday that the idea has always been to bring Talib back. But because there's still some time before any of the players are eligible to return — Cooper would be first following Week 9 — a lot is still up in the air.
"Right now, because that still is a little bit a ways away, and there's just so many things that can take place in the meantime, unfortunately, with the way injuries play out and the way that we're kind of figuring out what's the best way to get our '46' up on game day and how that adjusts and alters on a week-to-week basis," McVay said. "Those guys are doing a great job with their rehab. They're making great progress. Once those timetables do come up that we could potentially utilize that 'designated to return' on those guys, it would definitely be predicated on the situation.
"I think just looking at it, unless something changes, Aqib has always been a guy that we've anticipated using that on," McVay continued. "How that affects the other guys it's hard to say, but nothing is set in stone. Just with the way that we approached it, putting them on IR, kind of the intent and what we've always kind of anticipated — unless something changes — was that Aqib would be one of those players that would be used as far as designating that to return on."
Outside linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo started the regular season on the physically unable to perform list. He's been back at practice for over a week now, but given the way Los Angeles has been holding its practices — with a walk-thru instead of a full session on Wednesdays — there just haven't been many reps to evaluate. Because of that, McVay said the team will likely use the full 21-day window to make a decision on activating Okoronkwo to the 53-man roster.
"[T]hat's kind of the trajectory that we're on right now," McVay said. "Really, he's done a nice job with the things that he can control. The thing that's interesting about it is being able to do some individual things, but because of the way that we're practicing at this point in the season, being mindful of especially some of the guys that are naturally just banged up through seven weeks, he's had limited opportunities to really show how he's doing. But he is making progress. It's been good to have him out there. He's got a great demeanor and we're seeing good things. But as far as any sort of updates or changes, there's nothing on that front right now."