It had been a while since running back Todd Gurley missed a game due to injury. In fact, you had to go all the way back to Week 17 of Gurley's rookie season in 2015 to find the last time Gurley was out for an injury-related reason.
Of course, that changed this year for Weeks 16 and 17, as Gurley sat out with a left knee injury. But by resting the last two games combined with the bye, Gurley will have gone nearly a month between games when the Rams take on either Chicago, Dallas, or Seattle in the Divisional round on Jan. 12.
Head coach Sean McVay said earlier this week that he'd be "very, very surprised" if Gurley weren't ready for that matchup. And on Thursday, Gurley himself had a positive update on his status.
"I'm feeling better. I'm feeling good this week," Gurley said, crediting assistant athletic trainer Byron Cunningham for his work in the training room on his rehab. "Just trying to be on the field next week."
Gurley said he's been doing cardio work along with the rehab on his knee in order to keep himself in the best shape possible heading into next week's playoff matchup.
"Just mostly the morning sessions, try to knock out my rehab stuff. And then the stuff that I do with the team, as far as like weight-room wise. And then when those guys are at practice, I'm trying to do cardio," Gurley said. "So that's been my biggest emphasis since I wasn't able to play the last two weeks — just trying to get my cardio back."
In 14 games, Gurley finished the 2018 season as the league leader in total touchdowns (21) and rushing touchdowns (17). But given his heavy workload — the Georgia product averaged 18.3 carries and 4.2 receptions per game — Gurley's cardio status will be an important aspect of the upcoming playoff game.
But when it comes to his knee, Gurley said, "I've been able to do a lot more this week, and it's been reacting pretty good."
Even with Gurley back on the field, Los Angeles has certainly found a gem in running back C.J. Anderson, who rushed for 299 yards in the Rams' last two games of the season. If nothing else, Anderson should provide good depth at the position, should Gurley need a blow.
"Yeah, he's done a great job. He's came in and has been doing better than me — so he's been killing it," Gurley said. "Not sure if he got FedEx player of the week again, but to be in the mention twice just from coming [and not being] on a team [is an accomplishment]. So he's been doing a great job. He's been a Pro Bowler, a Super Bowl player, so he's a great player, man."
The Rams players and coaches will be off on Friday and Saturday before getting back to work with practice on Sunday in preparation for the Divisional round contest.