With a bye week to heal up, Matthew Stafford is ready to return to action for the Los Angeles Rams.
Stafford, who missed L.A.’s last game due to a thumb injury, is expected to play Sunday versus the Seattle Seahawks, head coach Sean McVay announced on Monday.
Stafford was able to grip and throw the ball during individual drills at practice on Monday, according to McVay, which is a promising sign that the injury has healed up enough for him to play.
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The 35-year-old quarterback exited the Rams’ Week 8 loss to the Cowboys in the third quarter after his thumb was contacted by a defender on an incomplete pass. It was later announced that Stafford had suffered a sprained UCL in the thumb on his throwing hand, and while the initial estimates had him as day to day, he ended up missing the Rams’ Week 9 game with the injury.
Stafford’s return could not come soon enough for the Rams, who struggled to find a serviceable replacement for their starter while he was out. Brett Rypien came in in relief when Stafford was ruled out after sustaining the injury and started the team’s next game against the Packers. The fourth-year pro struggled in the start, throwing for 130 yards with an interception and losing a fumble in the loss to Green Bay.
The Rams subsequently waived Rypien and signed free-agent QB Carson Wentz to become the new No. 2 quarterback, but based on McVay’s Monday words it appears the Rams will not need Wentz to start in Week 11 versus Seattle.
Before missing time with the injury, Stafford had thrown for 2,070 yards and eight touchdowns in eight games, an uptick from his 2022 numbers while battling through injuries. And unlike last year, when the 15-year veteran was shut down with a spinal cord contusion after nine games, Stafford is set to return to the field having missed only one start.
The Rams have fallen behind in the NFC West race, holding a 3-6 record with half the season to go, but L.A. will hope the return of Stafford can help spark something, starting this Sunday when they face an opponent that’s ahead of them in the division standings.
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