The Los Angeles Rams thought 2023 would be a bounce-back season, considering the many key injuries the team endured in 2022.
However, before the new season even starts, they are in the same boat from 2022 as star receiver Cooper Kupp, who missed a chunk of last year with an ankle injury, has reportedly been placed on injured reserve.
Kupp suffered a hamstring injury early in training camp but was making progress in efforts to play Week 1. Kupp even told reporters at one point that he was on track to play.
But Kupp suffered a setback last week that immediately put his status in doubt. Now, it’s even worse than the Rams originally believed.
Head coach Sean McVay originally called Kupp’s injury a “day-to-day” thing, but landing on IR means he will miss at least the first four games of the season.
Kupp had spent time in Minnesota seeing a specialist for the injury, which made his status for Week 1 and beyond look bleak.
The 30-year-old had sky-high expectations last season after a 2021 season that included a triple crown of being named Offensive Player of the Year, winning a Super Bowl ring and being named Super Bowl MVP. Kupp inked a three-year, $80 million extension in June 2022, but a high ankle sprain in Week 10 kept him out for the remainder of the season.
When he was on the field, he remained dominant. In nine games last season, he caught 75 passes for 812 yards and six touchdowns. Through his first eight games, he was on pace for 153 catches, 1,728 yards and 15 touchdowns.
In his triple crown season, he caught 145 passes for 1,947 yards and 16 scores.
It was a tough season all around for a Rams team that also lost starting quarterback Matthew Stafford and superstar defensive lineman Aaron Donald to injuries. Their 12 losses are the most ever by a defending Super Bowl champion.
With Kupp out, Van Jefferson will slide into the top spot outside while tight end Tyler Higbee figures to see more targets – so fantasy managers may want to see if those guys are still available on the waiver wire.
The Rams’ first game of the season is on the road Sunday against the division rival Seattle Seahawks, a wild-card team last season.