The Los Angeles Rams’ 2022 season has been filled with injuries as just about every key player has missed time at one point or another.
Included in that is star defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who suffered a high ankle sprain in the Week 12 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. It marked the first time in Donald’s nine-year NFL career that he was forced to miss time with injury, sitting out the last three weeks.
Donald has also been ruled out of the Rams’ Week 16 matchup with the Denver Broncos at SoFi Stadium on Christmas Day. Considering the Rams’ season is all but over with them already being eliminated from playoff contention at 4-10, there isn’t much of a reason for Donald to play again in 2022.
It appears that will likely be the case as head coach Sean McVay doesn’t anticipate Donald returning, via Stu Jackson of TheRams.com:
Rams HC Sean McVay said DL Aaron Donald (ankle) is out for Sunday's game vs. Broncos.
McVay also said "probably not" when asked if Donald will play again this season.
— Stu Jackson (@StuJRams) December 23, 2022
While it’s unfortunate that Donald will likely not play again this season, it’s absolutely the right move for him and the Rams as the most important thing is him going into the offseason 100% healthy. Donald has given his all to the Rams for nearly a decade, often playing well into January, so some time off can really benefit the 31-year-old.
In 11 games this season, Donald will finish with 49 total tackles, 10 tackles for loss, five sacks, two pass deflections and a forced fumble.
While Donald contemplated retirement last season, the Rams wound up giving him a contract extension and raise that keeps him with the team for two more years. It’s possible he can retire this offseason, but he will be one of the highest-paid players in the league in 2023 so he should be returning for at least one more year.
At 4-10 though, the Rams will have a lot of work to do this offseason to get back to a point where they’re in Super Bowl contention. Getting key guys like Donald healthy is a good start though, and the same can be said for Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp, who have also been shut down for the rest of this season.
Donald is Rams’ only Pro Bowler
The NFL recently announced the 2022 Pro Bowlers and Donald was the only Rams player to make the cut. Bobby Wagner is also deserving and will likely get in as a replacement, although there is no actual game this season in Las Vegas as they are only doing activities for the players instead.