Cooper Kupp leaves Rams’ training camp practice with hamstring injury
It is unclear how long this will sideline the All-Pro receiver, who missed eight games last season with a high ankle sprain that required offseason surgery.
IRVINE — Rams receiver Cooper Kupp left their training camp practice with a hamstring injury on Tuesday night, and the team is uncertain how long he will be sidelined.
The former Super Bowl MVP was running red-zone routes with the rest of the receivers when he came up short. He left the field under his own power with trainers about 30 minutes into the two-hour workout at UC Irvine and did not return to the field.
Head coach Sean McVay said he had not spoken to the training staff to learn the nature or extent of the injury when he met with the media.
“I just know they told me he was out for practice,” McVay said.
A team spokesperson confirmed the diagnosis to reporters later Tuesday.
Kupp missed the final eight games last season after suffering a high ankle sprain that required offseason tightrope surgery. He was limited during the Rams’ offseason camps but had been a full participant through the first five practices of training camp, looking like his old self with highlight catches only he could make.
The seventh-year receiver said last week he wasn’t sure whether he had reached his previous levels or not, but he was enjoying the signs of progress.
“Even just from the first day to the second day, things definitely have started to be like, okay, now we’re back into the groove, seeing things and being able to react off them,” Kupp said. “There’s nothing like playing competitive football. You can’t simulate it, you know? Obviously, I haven’t done it since November, so it’s been a while, but it’ll come back fast.”
Kupp won the NFL’s triple crown of receiving in 2021, leading the league in catches (145), yards receiving (1,947) and touchdown catches (16). He starred again during the Rams’ playoff run, culminating in two touchdown catches in the Super Bowl, including the game-winner with 1:25 left.
He had 75 catches for 812 yards and six touchdowns in only nine games last season before his ankle sprain.
But now Kupp and the Rams, who are scheduled for just a walk-through on Wednesday before returning to practice Thursday, will have to wait and see the extent of this latest injury.
“You have to be able to move on,” McVay said. “I hope he’s ok but you gotta be able to go practice, guys have to be able to step up.”
Kupp’s absence allowed more space for the competitors in the battle for the third receiver job.
Rookie Puka Nacua had another strong day, coming down with some tough passes and drawing a defensive pass interference call on a long ball. Fourth-year receiver Tutu Atwell brought in a pass across the middle in heavy traffic.
All are vying for the trust of McVay and quarterback Matthew Stafford that they can make plays when the Rams reach game action.
“For us, we’re just looking for guys that know where they’re supposed to be, are going to play with great energy, great detail, and then trust their skills when the ball’s in the air to go out there and make big plays,” Stafford said. “We’ve got a bunch of guys that are doing that right now and looking forward to giving them more opportunities.”
Overall, though, McVay wasn’t pleased with the Rams’ performance during their second day of padded practices.
“We got a really long way to go,” McVay volunteered at the end of a response to a question about outside linebacker Byron Young. “Today was not very good overall. I thought we were very sloppy, not sharp on both sides of the football. If we want to continue to try to do the things we’re doing and take steps in the right direction, we gotta be better than we were today.”
He pointed to issues with blocking and route running on offense, and rush integrity and coverage discipline on defense, then lamented the fact that the collective bargaining agreement limits teams to 11 hours of work during training camp so he could not address these issues in greater depth with the team until the morning.
“I’m not going to have high standards for what they’re capable of,” McVay said. “There’s going to be a lot of mistakes. It’s the repetitive ones. It’s when we get a little bit tired and you’re not really thinking and it’s stuff that we’ve done over and over again.”
Defensive tackle Aaron Donald received a veteran rest day on Tuesday. … Outside linebacker Ochaun Mathis tweaked his knee on Monday and will be out for a few weeks, McVay said, while receiver Ben Skowronek was held out on Tuesday due to a sore back.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.