Los Angeles Rams star receiver Cooper Kupp is expected to miss six to eight weeks after undergoing surgery this past week for a high ankle sprain, league sources told ESPN.
The last-place Rams, who are 3-6 entering Sunday’s contest against the New Orleans Saints, will need to bounce back to give Kupp a realistic chance to return this season.
If the Rams can somehow string together enough wins to climb back into playoff contention, it would increase the chances that Kupp could possibly return later this season. But if Los Angeles’ struggles continue, Kupp would not be likely to play again until the 2023 season.
The tightrope surgery that Kupp underwent last week typically sidelines players six to eight weeks. Some players have returned to play ahead of that timeline, while others have taken longer.
Rams rookie running back Kyren Williams had the same surgery that Kupp did and was practicing in five weeks, while rookie linebacker Daniel Hardy had the same surgery this past summer and still hasn’t been cleared to return to practice.
Without Kupp, the Rams will need their other wide receivers to make up for the production of one of the NFL’s best players. Receivers Allen Robinson II, Ben Skowronek and Van Jefferson already were receiving playing time, and Kupp’s absence figures to free up opportunities for Tutu Atwell and undrafted free agent Lance McCutcheon.
Just as big of an issue as Kupp’s absence is the state of the Rams’ offensive line, which has been riddled with injuries throughout the season and will feature its 10th different starting combination in 10 games Sunday.
This past week, starting left tackle Alaric Jackson was sidelined for the season due to blood clots, starting guard Chandler Brewer suffered a season-ending torn medial collateral ligament and center Brian Allen injured a thumb. The Rams already were without offensive tackle Joe Noteboom, guard Logan Bruss, and linemen Tremayne Anchrum Jr. and Jeremiah Kolone.
Against the Saints, the Rams are expected to start left tackle Ty Nsekhe and guard Oday Aboushi, who were both recently signed as free agents.