Wednesday's NFL: Rams QB Stafford back in concussion protocol, out Sunday

Associated Press

Thousand Oaks, Calif. — Quarterback Matthew Stafford will miss his second game in three weeks for the Los Angeles Rams after going back into the NFL's concussion protocol.

Sean McVay confirmed Stafford will sit out when the Rams (3-7) visit the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, but the coach said Wednesday that his Super Bowl-winning quarterback doesn't necessarily have a concussion.

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford leaves the field in the second half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022.

Stafford left the Rams' loss at New Orleans early last Sunday when he felt numbness in his legs following a hit. Stafford has been examined by doctors who haven't yet determined whether he incurred a concussion, but Stafford is still back in the protocol because of the way he exited the game, McVay said.

“We're checking all those boxes and going through all that,” McVay said. “There's a lot of layers to it, but you certainly want to make sure you're doing everything in your power to (address) exactly what went into that feeling, and letting the experts be able to give their opinion, look at the MRI and those scans, and be able to give the right information so that we can move forward accordingly with him.”

Stafford missed the Rams' loss to Arizona two weeks ago after going into the protocol the first time. The Rams still haven't confirmed whether Stafford incurred a concussion in that instance, either.

McVay said Stafford and the Rams haven't decided whether the quarterback could go on injured reserve or even be shut down for the season. Los Angeles has only six games remaining after Sunday and a daunting road to playoff contention.

The Rams also are uncertain who will play quarterback when they face the Chiefs on Sunday.

Third-stringer Bryce Perkins will get most of the snaps in practice because backup John Wolford has a lingering neck injury that forced him to miss last week's game at New Orleans.

Stafford is one of the NFL's most durable quarterbacks over the past 12 years. He had missed only eight games in that stretch — all in the 2019 season with Detroit because of a back injury — before his absence against the Cardinals.

Bears QB Fields practicing despite left shoulder separation

Lake Forest, Ill. — The Chicago Bears will spend the week watching and waiting as quarterback Justin Fields hopes his left shoulder heals up enough so he can start Sunday against the New York Jets.

Fields said his injury is a shoulder separation with ligament damage within the AC joint, and added he wouldn’t have been able to play Wednesday if the game had been held then.

“Today, probably not, but good thing we don’t play today; we play in what, four days,” Fields said. “So we’ll see how it feels in four days. "

The injury is to his non-throwing shoulder, but he experiences some pain in that shoulder on his follow-through when he throws.

“It’s just some movements that I do with my arm, it hurts it,” Fields said.

The Bears held only a walkthrough practice Wednesday, but Fields was given an injury designation of practicing on a limited basis. Whether he can play Sunday depends on how much he progresses the next two days in practice.

“I just feel like if I can play and I’m not furthering the risk of injury, you know, I can do what I need to do to protect myself, I think it will be good enough for me to play,” Fields said.

Fields said he could take a pain-killing shot if the shoulder can’t be damaged further. He might need to wear a harness of some type, as well.

“I don’t know what hits I'm going to take on Sunday, but if my shoulder can (withstand) those hits and stuff like that,” he said, “I mean, you really can’t predict if it will get worse or not just based on what’s going to happen.”

He'll test it out in full Friday.

“Just, practicing, throwing a couple days before the game,” Fields said. “And of course I’m really not going to know how it’s going to feel on the game day because I’m not about to get shot up a couple days before the game."

Fields hasn’t had a shoulder injury before, but recalled how he had cracked ribs and a partially torn hip muscle in the national championship game and still played for Ohio State two years ago.

“I mean, you get a big game like that, that’s the last game of the year,” Fields said. “I’ve got to damn near die for me to not play in that one.”

Sunday’s game carries much lower consequences for the Bears (3-8), who are trying to avoid a five-game losing streak.

The Bears would start Trevor Siemian at quarterback if Fields can’t play.

Fields will consult with team medical personnel before any decision is made.”

Personnel dept.

... Jacksonville claimed veteran running back Darrell Henderson off waivers from the Los Angeles Rams on Wednesday, giving the Jaguars more experience behind starter Travis Etienne.

Jacksonville waived offensive lineman John Miller to make room for Henderson on the 53-man roster.

Henderson rushed for 1,742 yards and 13 touchdowns over four seasons with the Rams, who chose him in the third round in 2019. Henderson started 28 games, including seven this season, and played extensively in the Los Angeles backfield whenever he was injury-free during his career.

Henderson played just four snaps in last week's loss at New Orleans. Rams coach Sean McVay said Henderson had a minor knee injury, citing it as the reason he barely played. But Henderson is in the final year of his rookie contract before free agency, and the Rams were moving on before the final seven games of what’s looking like a lost season.

Henderson has 283 yards rushing and three touchdowns this season. He is averaging 4.0 yards a carry.