Gur­ley ex­pects to play de­spite in­jury

The Tribune (SLO) - - Sports - BY DAN GREENSPAN

THOU­SAND OAKS

Los An­ge­les Rams run­ning back Todd Gur­ley ex­pects to play against the Ari­zona Car­di­nals on Sun­day in spite of a knee in­jury.

If the game was ear­lier, how­ever, Gur­ley wasn’t quite as cer­tain about his sta­tus.

“I haven’t tried to run so, yeah, that’s a tough ques­tion,” Gur­ley said Thurs­day night.

Gur­ley did not prac­tice Thurs­day as he deals with in­flam­ma­tion in his knee that flared up in the 30-23 loss to Philadel­phia on Sun­day night. Gur­ley, who leads the NFL with 21 com­bined rush­ing and re­ceiv­ing touch­downs, does not ex­pect to prac­tice be­fore the Rams travel to Ari­zona.

How­ever, Gur­ley was adamant he would play pro­vided he gets med­i­cal clear­ance to do so.

“We got a game to win, and I’m pretty sure me be­ing out there, if I can be out there, I would put this team in a good po­si­tion to help them win,” Gur­ley said. “So why wouldn’t I be out there, you know, if I can play? That’s what we are try­ing to do. We’re try­ing to win.”

Coach Sean Mc­Vay said Wed­nes­day he would con­sider rest­ing Gur­ley to make sure the sec­ond-lead­ing run­ner in the league with 1,251 yards rush­ing is avail­able for the play­offs, as the Rams (11-3) have al­ready won the NFC West.

That is not ac­cept­able to Gur­ley, not with the team on a twogame los­ing streak and still try­ing to se­cure a first-round bye.

“We’re not wor­ried about three weeks from now,” Gur­ley said. “We’re wor­ried about this week.”

At the same time, Gur­ley said he would not jeop­ar­dize his health by play­ing if he did not feel com­fort­able.

“I’m not go­ing to tell those guys I’m fine when I’m not, you know,” Gur­ley said. “If you go out there (like that you) could risk some­thing else, so it’s a two-way street. That’s why we

com­mu­ni­cate.”

Com­pli­cat­ing Gur­ley’s sit­u­a­tion is the avail­abil­ity of Justin Davis, the sec­ond-year run­ning back from South­ern Cal­i­for­nia who sus­tained a shoul­der in­jury against the Ea­gles while back­ing up Gur­ley.

Davis also missed prac­tice Thurs­day, which left C.J. An­der­son and John Kelly as the only run­ning backs avail­able. An­der­son signed with the Rams on Tues­day, and the rookie Kelly has two ca­reer car­ries for four yards.

A 1,000-yard rusher for Den­ver in 2017, An­der­son helped the Bron­cos to ap­pear­ances in Su­per Bowl 48 and 50. An­der­son rushed for 90 yards and one touch­down in the 24-10 win over Carolina in Su­per Bowl 50.

“He’s one of the rea­sons I have a Su­per Bowl ring,” said Rams de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Wade Phillips, who held the same po­si­tion with Den­ver dur­ing the 2015 sea­son.

An­der­son was waived by the Pan­thers on Nov. 12 af­ter rush­ing for 104 yards and no touch­downs in nine games. He signed a one-year con­tract with Carolina in May. An­der­son signed with Oak­land on Dec. 4 but was re­leased one week later with­out ap­pear­ing in a game.

In spite of his lack of fa­mil­iar­ity with the Rams of­fense and lim­ited pro­duc­tion this sea­son, the six-year vet­eran An­der­son was con­fi­dent he would be able to con­trib­ute if Gur­ley does not play.

“The game don’t change,” An­der­son said. “What I see and what I do and how I pre­pare, that’s never changed. It hasn’t changed since I was in Carolina. Gru­den, I was ready to play that Sun­day if he needed me that Sun­day when I was in Oak­land, and it doesn’t change here. It’s how you are as a player. I love the game, I love putting in work, I love learn­ing. I want all these guys to know they can count on 35 when I’m out there.”

An­der­son said the Rams’ scheme is sim­i­lar to what he ran in Den­ver for coach Gary Ku­biak.

MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ AP

Rams run­ning back Todd Gur­ley cel­e­brates af­ter scor­ing against the Ea­gles dur­ing the first half of their game Sun­day in Los An­ge­les.

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