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The Strange Case Of Todd Gurley’s Knee

Todd Gurley’s knee is just fine, thank you very much. He simply needed a break as last season came to a close. A respite, if you will, as the grind of a 16-game schedule wound down.

This, of course, is the basic message being delivered by Los Angeles Rams coaches and front office types as they essentially avoid answering any questions about their most important offensive player and his knee, uh, “issue”.

Unfortunately for fans, last season came to a close in the postseason, culminating, of course, in the Super Bowl loss to New England. Not exactly the most opportune time to give your stud running back a breather. Which is why many fans, and NFL “insiders” as well, are having a hard time buying what the Rams’ brass is selling regarding the health of Gurley’s knee.

At this time a quick refresher course on Gurley’s postseason last year seems to be in order.

Gurley opened the playoffs with 16 carries for 115 yards and a touchdown in a win over the Cowboys. Apparently, the following week coach Sean McVay felt it was time to give his star some much-needed rest. 

Of course, the following week was the NFC Championship Game at New Orleans. Nevertheless, McVay and Co. saw fit to give Gurley a grand total of 4 carries for 10 yards as the Rams escaped the Superdome in controversial fashion on their way to Super Bowl 53.  

Ah, the Super Bowl. The biggest single-day sporting event in the world. Basically, the most important day in the life of a football player, other than possibly your wedding day or the birth of a child (o.k., the Super Bowl is probably more important than those things, as well).

The Super Bowl also provided the Rams and Todd Gurley with even more of that precious commodity they had been craving so much, rest. The two weeks between the conference championship and the “big game” would assure the running back, and every one of his otherwise relatively healthy teammates would be as close to 100% as possible.

But a funny thing happened on Super Bowl Sunday. The well-rested Gurley finished the game with 10 carries for 35 yards.

So what gives (gave?).

The Rams did have a more-than-capable running back to fall back on during that playoff run. C.J. Anderson added his stamp to the Dallas win with 123 yards and two TDs. Unfortunately, the final two games for Anderson, statistically-speaking, were eerily similar to Gurley’s.

An off-season later, Todd Gurley is no doubt good to go. Or so one would think. But a number of things cast further doubt on that. For starters, Gurley didn’t participate in the team’s offseason drills during the spring. Most telling could be that the Rams selected RB Darrell Henderson in the 3rd round of April’s draft. Many believe Henderson has skills that closely mirror those of Gurley. Add to that the fact that so far in training camp, the RB’s reps have been very closely monitored and limited and one could certainly be forgiven for having lingering doubts about his health.

McVay, as has been the case since last postseason, has for the most part poo-pooed any concerns fans might have about Gurley’s knee and scoffs at the idea of lightening his workload this season.

Rams fans everywhere are crossing fingers and toes and saying an extra prayer in pews on Sundays for the well-being of their star’s knee.

Oh, there’s one other tiny little thing I almost forgot to mention. There is quite a bit of talk among NFL personnel people, coaches, and even some doctors (who, of course, have never examined Gurley) that the stud RB’s knee is actually arthritic. Sorry for that little oversight.

But that’s a conversation for another time.

Mike Clark

Author Mike Clark

Founder of the sports blog Member, Football Writers Association of America

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