Todd Gurley's trainer says running back has 'arthritic component to his knee'

Shalise Manza YoungYahoo Sports Columnist
Yahoo Sports

One of the people who works closely with Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley confirmed that the All-Pro has arthritis in his knee.

Jeff Howe of The Athletic reported in March that Gurley is dealing with arthritis but there has been no confirmation from either the player or the team to this point.

The trainer for Los Angeles Rams' Todd Gurley II said the running back has an "arthritic component" to his knee that needs to be managed. (AP)
The trainer for Los Angeles Rams' Todd Gurley II said the running back has an "arthritic component" to his knee that needs to be managed. (AP)
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‘Arthritic component’

Trainer Travelle Gaines, who owns the Athletic Gaines facilities, told CBS Sports that Gurley will be ready for the 2019 season.

“Everybody knew when Todd came out of Georgia that there would be some kind of arthritic component to his knee, which is part of every surgery whether it's a shoulder, a knee, an ankle,” Gaines said. “He's now at the Year 5 mark; all we're doing is managing that. If we can pound him less in the offseason while keeping his weight down, working on his strength, working on his agility in short areas, that's going to give him a better chance to be healthy Weeks 14 through 17 when they really count.”

Gurley tore his left ACL in 2014, while at Georgia.

The 24-year-old racked up over 1,800 yards from scrimmage through the first 14 games of the regular season last year before sitting out the 15th and 16th games. Despite that rest, he played sparingly in the playoffs, getting just 34 touches over three games.

He was voted a first-team All-Pro in both 2017 and 2018.

‘Not one thing has changed’

The Rams drafted Darrell Henderson in the third round this year, which fueled speculation about Gurley’s health and status with Los Angeles.

But Gaines doesn’t seem worried for his client.

“It's never been told to me that there's a plan to decrease his workload come Week 1. At the end of the day, you need solid running backs, and they grabbed a home-run running back in the third round,” Gaines said. “If you watched the games last year, Todd typically sat out two to three series last year. I don't see anything changing with that, so you need a back who can catch, and I believe Darrell averaged around 9.0 yards per carry, a home-run type guy.”

Gaines has been Gurley’s offseason trainer for three years, and insisted that it was a reward of sorts that his workload was cut back.

“Not one thing has changed,” Gaines said. “Our routine has worked, he's been strong, he's been in great shape, he's done well.

“He got a little tired toward the end of last year because he was carrying the ball a lot. Could he have played last year? Yeah, but when you already have the division and seeding clinched, what was the point?”

Weight loss not related to knee

NFL Network’s Steve Wyche reported last month that Gurley was going to lose 6 pounds to play at 218 this year; Gaines said the weight loss is not because of his knee trouble.

“It was a collective decision for him to play a little lighter this year, not because of injuries, just because I just feel he's one of the faster players in the league,” Gaines said. “He doesn't have to play at 224. 218 is only 6 pounds less, so I wanted to decrease his body fat a little bit and get him to the point where he's a tad smaller so he can be a tad faster and a little bit bigger from a lean muscle mass standpoint. He's going from basically 10 percent body fat to 7 percent body fat.”

Gurley and the Rams agreed to a four year, $60 million contract extension on the eve of training camp last year, a deal that includes $45 million guaranteed.

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