Kupp uncertain for Rams' NFL opener with hamstring setback

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (Mike Christy)
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (Mike Christy)

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp, last year's Super Bowl Most Valuable Player, will return to the team soon after a hamstring injury setback but could miss Sunday's NFL opener.

Rams coach Sean McVay confirmed on Monday that the 30-year-old went to a specialist in Minnesota last weekend about the injury ahead of Sunday's contest at Seattle.

"You want to be able to just take it a day at a time," McVay said. "We're hopeful this will give some clarity once he goes and talks to these doctors... we want to be able to get some clarity."

The Rams want Kupp back at his best after he led the NFL in the 2021 campaign with 145 catches, 1,947 reception yards and 16 touchdown catches.

Kupp then set an NFL playoff record with 33 catches for 478 yards and six touchdowns as the Rams took their first NFL crown since 1999 by beating Cincinnati 23-20 in Super Bowl 56.

But last season, Kupp played only nine games due to a season-ending ankle injury that helped sideline him into the start of pre-season workouts before the hamstring injury.

The Rams were 2-6 without Kupp last season in a 5-12 overall campaign.

"We're obviously a much better team when he's available," McVay said.

McVay said the team was concerned about the possibility of a soft tissue injury, saying aspects of his injury were not common to hamstring injuries.

"I think the biggest thing I can say is there were just some things that were a little bit out of the norm relative to, you say it's a muscle strain, all right, or it's a hamstring when you re-aggravated it, it really just didn't go in alignment with when those things occur in other situations and under similar circumstances," McVay said.

"Just really trying to explore all avenues and try to get some clarity."

The biggest factor, McVay said, is having Kupp back at full power even if he misses some games.

"If he's able to go, then that's outstanding for us. And if not, then that's kind of how we've been operating," McVay said.

"As long as he's able to have that return to performance, he's feeling like the Cooper Kupp that we all know and love, that'll be a really good situation for us."

McVay said Kupp's absence for much of the pre-season has allowed other receivers to improve and build a better rhythm with Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford.