Rams’ Aaron Donald ‘probably not’ returning this season

THOUSAND OAKS — Rams star defensive lineman Aaron Donald was ruled out Friday for the Christmas Day game against the Denver Broncos at SoFi Stadium, but his 2022 season might already be over.

Rams coach Sean McVay said “probably not” when asked about Donald possibly playing again this season with games remaining against the Chargers and Seattle Seahawks.

With Donald out versus Denver on Sunday, he’ll now miss four consecutive games because of an ankle injury he sustained against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 12.

“He’s doing good,” McVay said. “He’s making good progress. I just think, ‘Will he be fully cleared to be Aaron Donald?’ And if he is, then you talk to him and see, but if not, we’ll err on the side of being smart with him. But, obviously, he’s a guy who’s certainly earned the right to where you talk to him, but he’s not cleared yet and I don’t know that I see that changing in the next couple weeks.”

If the Rams decide to shut down Donald, he’ll join linemate A’Shawn Robinson, quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receivers Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson on the season-ending injured reserve list.

Ass for Sunday, center Brian Allen (calf), wide receiver Ben Skowronek (calf), defensive lineman Marquise Copeland (ankle), backup quarterback John Wolford (neck) and linebackers Travin Howard (hip) and Jake Gervase (ankle) were also ruled out.

The Rams have been thin on the interior of their defensive line with Donald, Copeland and A’Shawn Robinson sidelined the past few weeks. On Monday night, the Green Bay Packers leaned on running backs Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon to defeat the Rams.

“I don’t know if they changed the scheme, but I think the biggest thing is they might come off the block a little faster,” Rams middle linebacker Bobby Wagner said about how opposing offenses have played them without Donald on the field.

“So if there’s a double team, they might come off the double team a little faster, versus A.D. (Aaron Donald) they probably wouldn’t come off on it. That’s the only thing I can probably pinpoint outside of maybe run more perimeter plays or just run away. But nothing that really stands out that’s any different for me.”

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The Rams might be missing Donald, was selected to his ninth consecutive Pro Bowl earlier this week, more than usual Sunday.

While the Broncos have struggled offensively with quarterback Russell Wilson, the Rams are aware of Wilson’s ability to escape the pocket and extend plays – they faced Wilson twice a year when he played for the NFC West rival Seattle Seahawks.

More to come on this story.

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