The hits keep coming for the Los Angeles Rams as Aaron Donald is the latest player to go down with an injury, suffering a high ankle sprain in the Week 12 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Donald joins a long list of injured Rams players, which includes Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Allen Robinson, Joe Noteboom, A’Shawn Robinson, and Jordan Fuller, among others, leaving the interior of the Rams’ defensive line thin this Sunday.
Without Donald and Robinson, who was lost for the season with a torn meniscus, suffered in the first half of Week 11 against the New Orleans Saints, the Rams will be forced to lean on defensive linemen Michael Hoechst, Greg Gaines, and Marquise Copeland to fill the void.
Oddsmakers seem convinced injuries will have some impact. NFL odds comparison at The Game Day had the Rams open at +3.5 home team underdogs, which has since moved to +7.5 on this week’s injury reports. Los Angeles is +300 on the moneyline, and the over/under is 41.0.
And it’s little wonder.
With the Rams sitting at 3-8 after five straight losses, there is no reason to rush back Donald or any other veterans. With that being said, Donald is expected to miss the Week 13 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks, which will be the first game he misses due to injury in his career, via Stu Jackson of TheRams.com:
No surgery for Donald, who will be week-to-week, per McVay. https://t.co/aPi3s78Wsc
— Stu Jackson (@StuJRams) November 30, 2022
The fact that it took Donald nine seasons to miss a game with an injury is truly incredible and a testament to the hard work that he puts in.
It is also good news that Donald does not require surgery on the ankle, which means he will have a chance to play again this season. With the Rams out of the postseason race, it may make sense to shut him and the other injured veterans down for the rest of the season to avoid the risk of re-injury.
This season, Donald has 49 combined tackles and five sacks. The 31-year-old has played in 138 of 140 regular season games over his first eight-plus years in the league. The only games Donald has missed both came in 2017. Donald sat out the season opener because of a contract dispute and was a healthy scratch during the regular-season finale to rest.
Donald is a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, eight-time Pro Bowler, and a seven-time All-Pro. Donald is as competitive as they come and probably would not be on board with that, so it will be interesting to see how the Rams handle it if he gets back healthy in the coming weeks.