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Okoronkwo Begins to Practice, but Not Expected to Play for a While

Fifth-round pick outside linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo is finally eligible to practice after starting the season on the physically unable to perform list.

The Rams have stared their 21-day window to have Okoronkwo on the practice field, and the rookie out of Oklahoma has participated in this week's sessions. But given that Okoronkwo suffered his foot injury during Phase II of the offseason program, he really hasn't ever had a chance to practice with L.A. In fact, this week's practices are his first opportunity to even go line up in 11-on-11 drills.

Linebacker (45) Ogbonnia Okoronkwo of the Los Angeles Rams practices, Thursday, October 18, 2018, in Thousand Oaks, CA. (Jeff Lewis/Rams)

When you combine that with the face that Wednesday's session was a walk-thru, it's likely not fair to expect too much too soon from Okoronkwo.

"Yeah, you can't really evaluate too much in that. That's like saying, 'How did he walk around today in the building?' You tell me," head coach Sean McVay said with a laugh on Wednesday.

McVay then came right out and said that even though Thursday and Friday are days to better evaluate the young edge rusher, Okoronkwo isn't going to play this week.

"Knowing that he's not going to play, he's not going to take those mental reps that guys that are going to be able to play in this game on Sunday are," McVay said. "But, what we will do in the meantime with those 21 days that we do have, is really start to look physically, 'Is he going to be ready to go? Do we feel like he's going to be somebody that can help us out?' That's what we're hopeful for."

Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said that the hope is for Okoronkwo to pick up enough of the defense in the 21-day period to be effective on the field sooner than later.

"We haven't seen him that much in practice yet," Phillips said. "We're hopeful that he will do well, but he wouldn't be ready to play this week for sure."

"That's what we're proud of, as far as our teaching progression, as far as — we're going to play the best player, whoever he is. If it's a rookie, he's going to know what to do when he plays. Because it's, 'Have you won for me now?' is the name of the business. So we feel like our teaching progression has is good enough that we can play a young player, old player, whatever. So if he's good enough and ready to play, then we'll let him play."