Sometimes football players just seem like they’re of another species.
The Rams have their bye in Week 9, and head coach Sean McVay said after practice on Monday that he’s hoping the 33-year-old will be able to return for their Week 10 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“He’s got his jaw wired shut,” McVay said, via NBC Sports. “I think he’s feeling good. That’s not an ideal situation. It was kind of a freak accident. He’ll be out for at least the next four to six weeks. It’s going to be something where you just kind of monitor that diet. Really, it’s going to be a challenge any time that you have that. He’ll do all the right things to put himself in a position to hopefully get back as soon as we’re able to take that thing off and then he’s able to fully function.”
The Rams had previously announced that Matthews would be out “at least a month” due to jaw surgery, but missing four to five weeks would be about as good of a scenario as the team could have hoped for. Consider former New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith, who missed over six weeks after teammate IK Enemkpali punched him in the jaw and broke it in two places.
Rushing Matthews back from a broken jaw could be even more dangerous, considering the contact-filled position Matthews plays. From a poorly-received roughing the passer call to a rogue kick to the chin, there will be plenty of instances for Matthews’ injury to get worse if he’s not fully healthy.
Matthews was having a big bounce-back season
The timing of Matthews’ injury could hardly have been worse, as Matthews was in the midst of a renaissance during his first season with the Rams.
After the Green Bay Packers surprisingly didn’t offer him a contract in free agency, Matthews has resumed play as one of the league’s best pass-rushers. Through just five games, the USC alum is tied for the league lead with seven tackles for a loss and is tied for third with six sacks. This comes on the heels of Matthews last reaching double-digit sacks in 2014.
The Rams have a huge game against the undefeated San Francisco 49ers on Sunday but then reach a soft part of their schedule. They travel to visit the 1-4 Atlanta Falcons next and then host the 0-5 Cincinnati Bengals before traveling to play the 1-4 Steelers.
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