Rams’ Sean McVay expects Cooper Kupp to play, barring setbacks

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp will play Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles barring any setbacks from his hamstring injury, coach Sean McVay said Friday.

On Wednesday the team started Kupp’s 21-day practice window, allowing him to practice for the first time this season. McVay said Friday that Kupp has looked like himself in practice this week, “which is a good thing.”

“He’s very comfortable,” McVay said. “He’s so conscientious. He looks like he’s moving around really well, seeing good things between he and [quarterback] Matthew [Stafford] with a lot of their nonverbal communication. And just having his presence out there is definitely a boost.”

Kupp first injured the hamstring during a training camp practice Aug. 1. He then experienced a setback before the start of the season. Since Kupp’s injury, McVay has said several times that the Rams are focused on Kupp “returning to performance” vs. just “returning to play.”

McVay said he doesn’t expect Kupp to be limited or on a snap count, but said the team will “see how it goes.”

“Once he gets going, you want to be smart about it,” McVay said. “But I also know once a game gets going, you’re kind of in that moment. … And there’s nothing quite replicating the competitiveness and the tempo that occurs on game day, but that’ll be something that we want to be careful about.”

Kupp has not played in a game since Week 10 of 2022 after an ankle injury ended his season. He had 75 catches for 812 yards and six touchdowns in nine games before the injury.

Last month before he went on injured reserve, Kupp saw a specialist in Minnesota to try to get to the root of his hamstring issues. McVay said previously that Kupp’s injury hadn’t followed “the standard protocol for when you’re reaggravating a soft tissue injury.” McVay said Friday that by putting Kupp on injured reserve before the start of the season, it allowed him to get into a “consistent rhythm and routine and not really necessarily feeling like you’re having to rush back” for season opener, something McVay said was “kind of weighing on him a lot.”

“I think there was a benefit of just the overall time, the ability to have a good rehabilitation program that was structured towards just building the overall strength and trying to eliminate some of the, whether it’s the sensations or the things that were in alignment with the muscle strain or whatever it was,” McVay said.

“He’s feeling good now and I think the time was beneficial for that.”

McVay also said right guard Joe Noteboom will not play Sunday but that left tackle Alaric Jackson is expected to play.

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