The Rams held their last practice of the week on Friday morning at Cal Lutheran in preparation for the Texans. Los Angeles will hold a final walk-thru session on Saturday before heading to the Coliseum for its Week 10 matchup.
L.A. released its official injury report after practice on Friday. After being limited for non-injury related reasons on Thursday, left tackle Andrew Whitworth, center John Sullivan and linebacker Mark Barron were back to full participants Friday morning.
Running back Malcolm Brown will be out for Sunday's contest as he continues to rehab a sprained MCL. Tight end Derek Carrier and outside linebacker Robert Quinn are doubtful for this weekend with a hamstring injury and an illness, respectively.
In Houston, the Texans will be without three of their primary starters including defensive end J.J. Watt, outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus, and quarterback Deshaun Watson who will be out for the remainder of the year with season-ending injuries.
On Friday, the Texans also announced that their starting right defensive end Joel Heath will be out on Sunday with a knee injury. Rookie Carlos Watkins is expected to start in his place. Rounding out the injury report in Houston is inside linebacker Dylan Cole, who is out with a hamstring issue.
DUNBAR LIKELY TO BE ACTIVATED
With Brown out for at least the next couple of weeks, head coach Sean McVay has spent the last few days evaluating both Justin Davis and Lance Dunbar to be the No. 2 running back behind Todd Gurley.
Dunbar, who has been on the physically unable to perform list after suffering a knee injury before training camp, is expected to be activated this weekend. McVay said the former North Texas standout "had a good week" of practice and will "be the guy we're counting on on Sunday, unless something changes in the meantime."
"It looks like right we're going to try to find a way to get Lance up and activate him," McVay said after Friday's session. "It was good to get Lance back out there. He's been practicing for the last couple weeks and now this will offer and opportunity for us to see him on Sunday."
The running back returned to practice last Monday and didn't need long to adjust back to the speed of the game. Dunbar said he is "feeling great" and is "excited to get back out there with my teammates."
"You're anxious until it's time to get out there and then you get a little nervous, but it's a good thing," he said. "I feel healthy and I've been doing everything, playing football, so I'm excited. It's going to be a fun day on Sunday."
RAMS RETURN HOME
At 6-2, the Rams are off to their best start since 2001. But with 34 days away from the Coliseum, much of that
success has taken place away from the team's home crowd.
This weekend, however, the Rams will return to their home stadium for just the fourth time this season — something many players expressed excitement over.
"It's been awhile since we've been home," middle linebacker Alec Ogletree said. "It definitely feels good to get back and hopefully we can get a win this weekend at home. It will be great to see all the fans there and I know they are excited. We'll definitely be excited to be there."
L.A. began its road series with two back-to-back contests against the Jaguars in Jacksonville, followed by a trip to London to face the Cardinals. After the team's bye in Week 8, the Rams were back on the road travelling to the East Coast to face the Giants.
"Thirty-four days, really? Wow," cornerback Trumaine Johnson said with a laugh. "It's going to be big. We've been on the road for a long time, [so] it's going to be fun though to have our crowd back and behind us."
With only one win at the Coliseum under their belts in 2017, the Rams are eager to translate the success they've had on the road into a big victory at home. Plus wide receiver Sammy Watkins is hopeful that by "competing at the highest level," they can convince fans to believe in the team's potential.
"I can't wait to fill that stadium up with more fans and get more people coming to watch us," he said. "But right now like I said, we're only eight games in and we can do better, we can be better. We just have to keep the focus that we had the first game and I think we have the chance to be a great team."