Rams RB Kyren Williams ready for Arizona in return from IR – Press Enterprise

THOUSAND OAKS — As the Rams wound down the clock of a lopsided victory over the Arizona Cardinals last month, running back Kyren Williams had a tackler roll over on his ankle. With a Rams win already in hand, Williams went to the sideline. Adrenaline still pumping even after the game, Williams didn’t think much of the injury.

When he woke up the next morning, it was a different story.

“Yeah, there’s something wrong,” Williams remembers thinking. “My ankle hurts today.”

It turned out Williams had a low-grade high-ankle sprain that would require him to go on injured reserve and miss four games. The timing was unfortunate, as Williams had recently taken over as the Rams’ top back and rushed for a career-high against the Cardinals, a 20-carry, 158-yard game.

But as he prepares to return Sunday, against the Cardinals again, Williams does not feel like he’ll miss a step from where he left off.

“It ain’t gonna stop nothing,” Williams said. “I feel great. I felt great two weeks ago, being able to be on IR, giving me these two extra weeks to get my feet underneath me. I feel good. I’m excited for what’s to come on Sunday. I was just getting started and I still feel that momentum in practice.”

When the injury first happened, though, you could see the frustration on Williams’ face as he sat on a scooter on the sidelines, a soft cast around his ankle.

It was the second time in his two-year career that Williams had found himself on IR. But like last year, when he kept a walky-talky with him on the sidelines as he rehabbed to hear to play calls, he tried to stay engaged with the team even as he knew he would miss five weeks – four games and the bye.

“Staying patient but also just staying in it,” Williams said. “You’re on IR, you’re not always in the meetings. But being able to still catch up on those coaching points, still get the pass drawings or the run drawings. Still trying to stay in it. I’ve been on IR, so I kind of know what to expect. It wasn’t as bad as it was the first time.”

While he was out, the Rams found some success on the ground with a combination of free-agent acquisition Darrell Henderson and practice-squad promotion Royce Freeman as Williams and backup Ronnie Rivers sat on injured reserve.

Since Williams was activated for practice, Henderson was waived and re-signed to the practice squad. But Freeman, who is averaging 4.3 yards per carry this season, has earned the backup role with his play.

“I think he’s done a really good job and I think he’s a good complement to some of the things that Kyren brings to the table, physical presence,” Rams head coach Sean McVay said. “It’s a big deal that he can also contribute in the kicking game.”

Williams is still the unquestioned lead back Sunday against Arizona. But whereas he was playing upwards of 90-95% of snaps prior to his injury, the Rams will be a little bit more judicious with how they utilize him.

“I think you do want to be cognizant of that’s a lot of snaps, especially for what that position entails and the physical nature at which he plays, some of the things that we were asking of him,” McVay said. “So exactly what that balance looks like, you want to be able to ride the hot hand. You want to make sure that you’re able to get him in the flow of the game, but 95% is something that we definitely want to be mindful of taking some snaps off him.”

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