Rams WR Cooper Kupp returns to practice – Press Enterprise



THOUSAND OAKS — As he read off a sheet of paper anticipating practice loads on Wednesday, Rams head coach Sean McVay at first declared receiver Cooper Kupp – practicing for the first time since going on the injured reserve before Week 1 – would be a limited participant. Then, he looked back down at the paper and corrected himself.

“It says limited; he’s not going to be limited,” McVay said. ”I was like Ron Burgundy reading off the damn injury report. So he’s going through a normal practice, we’ll see how he’s feeling and we’ll progress him as the week goes.”

Temporary confusion and teleprompter adherence aside, it was the news the Rams have been waiting for. After a 2-2 start to the season, their best offensive weapon and former Super Bowl MVP is nearing a return, possibly as soon as Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.

In the portion of practice open to the media, Kupp participated in every receiver drill and appeared to be moving at full speed as quarterback Matthew Stafford threw to him.

“I thought he looked pretty good. Had a couple throws to him, had some nice catches, did what he normally does,” Stafford said. “I was happy for him, first and foremost, just know the amount of work that he’s put in to be back on the practice field.”

There was a lot of uncertainty surrounding Kupp’s prognosis when he was placed on IR. He had just flown to Minnesota to see a specialist because the hamstring pull was not behaving the way team doctors expected it to. The Rams and Kupp’s representatives wanted to be sure it was only a pull, though McVay hinted at the time there was concern it might be something else.

Once those concerns were alleviated, Kupp still had to miss at least four games. But his return to practice Wednesday, alongside outside linebacker Ochaun Mathis (knee), is the first step toward his return to the active roster, which must happen in the next three weeks or Kupp will return to IR for the remainder of the season.

Whether a return happens this week or further in the future will depend on how Kupp feels as he goes through the next few days of practice.

“I feel like playing football is the best checkpoint, getting out in some practice settings where guys are leaning on him, being able to work some of things that end up coming up,” McVay said. “He’s a guy that really knows his body really well, very experienced player. And so there’ll be an ongoing dialogue. We want to be smart as we kind of ramp up his workload over the course of the week with the goal of him being ready to go, and we’ll see exactly what that looks like as the week progresses.”

That leaves the Rams with the task of preparing to face the Eagles, last year’s NFC champs, uncertain whether their top receiver will be playing.

In truth, the Rams have done well in Kupp’s absence. Rookie Puka Nacua leads the NFL with 39 receptions and is second with 501 receiving yards, while speedy third-year player Tutu Atwell has established himself as a unique weapon in McVay’s offense.



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