The defending Super Bowl champions might have a serious problem heading into the new year. Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford has been dealing with elbow pain in his throwing arm that coach Sean McVay calls “abnormal” for a quarterback.
Stafford had elbow pain last year and required an injection following the Super Bowl victory. McVay added that the issue is typically seen in Major League Baseball pitchers and not one he’s ever dealt with as a coach.
Stafford has been throwing in individual drills and 7-on-7 setups while skipping the full-team portions as the team holds training camp practices at UC Irvine. McVay doesn’t think Stafford will be full-go by the end of training camp on Aug. 10th by the amount of discomfort he is in.
He old reporters the Rams’ training staff “tried some things in the offseason” to alleviate Stafford’s pain but knew they’d take a “modified approach and progressive build” to his recovery during camp.
“Could he do it? Yes,” McVay said. “Is that the best thing? We didn’t think so. And I think I’ve got a responsibility to make decisions that are in the best alignment using medical experts and talking with Matthew. And so, all of those things combined led to where we’re at right now. And it is an ever-evolving process, but we are really taking over these next couple weeks, seeing how they go.”
McVay made it clear that the Rams’ primary objective with this process is to get Stafford ready for the season opener.
“[You] want to try to have him operate in as little pain as possible,” McVay said. “I think anytime that you’ve played as long and are as tough as he is, I don’t know if you’re ever truly pain-free, but the goal would be for Sept. 8 and really looking towards 17 games then hopefully some games after that, if we earn that opportunity.
“That’s kind of the perspective and the big-picture approach that we want to be able to take. I don’t know that I would feel as comfortable taking that approach if it wasn’t for the experience that he’s accumulated and knowing how intentional he is about staying up to speed with his mental and his physical work that he can do in the absence of some of the stuff in the team settings.”
Despite injuring his elbow last season, Stafford played every game and threw for 4,886 yards, 41 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.