Los Angeles Rams RB C.J. Anderson was on Fox Sports’ Undisputed today and gave some candid remarks regarding RB Todd Gurley and the knee injury that kept him out of the final two games of the regular season and has fueled rumors of the injury limiting his performance in the final two games of the playoffs in which Gurley’s absence was most conspicuous.
Skip Bayless handled the interview and began by asking if the workload tilted in Anderson’s favor because of his play, but Anderson demurred instead:
Anderson: It’s Todd’s team. It’s still Todd’s team no matter what happens even if I come back.
I think I earned playing time. I learned in this league being seven years in, you can earn opportunity, and I believe I earned opportunity.
I think having two capable backs who can do it, nothing against Malcolm Brown or John Kelly or who they had before, but I think two capable backs who’ve done it in this league at a high level, I think it gave [Rams Head Coach Sean] McVay more tools to play with, and you kept Gurley fresh.
The goal keeping Gurley fresh was hopefully he could spring the home run. I mean, obviously I’m not going 80 [yards] no time soon, and that’s fine with me. But hopefully we keep him fresh so he can go.
His comments on Gurley’s knee though were the real eye-opener.
Bayless: How hurt was Todd when you got there?
Anderson: More hurt than what we thought. The injury was a little bit more than what everybody though including himself.
Bayless: What would you call it, a sprained knee?
Anderson: You know, he would never really tell me. It was tough. I would say sprained knee. Obviously, it’s the same knee injury he’s had before in his career. So obviously, I had surgery on my meniscus and once you have a knee, you always have a knee. So it aggregates and if he was getting a lot of touches earlier in the year obviously him being one of the best running backs, that probably was the case.
Anderson also touched on the idea that his workload was going to be less about the coaching staff making a determination of things and more Gurley himself:
Anderson: When we came in, we knew both of us going into the [NFC Championship], both of us were going to be used. Now, I don’t think it was a hot hand thing, because it was more like, you know, it was up front. I was receptive to [be told], “If Todd wanna go, he’s gonna go.” And I was OK with that. Obviously he got them there, 21 touchdowns this year, what he’s done in this league since he’s been in has been great. So it was more like, “C.J., we’re going to play you, but if our guy wants the ball and if he wants to go and he wants to do this, then we’re going to roll with 30,” and that was OK with me.
Anderson also spoke on what the New England Patriots showed the Rams in Super Bowl LIII that was different than what other opponents had, but the bulk of this interview is going to carry forward the confusion regarding Gurley’s knee and his low usage in the final two games of the postseason.
Rams media’s inability or unwillingness to this point to get a straight answer on the knee, or even anything as insightful as what Anderson provided today, suggests we might not get a real answer to these questions soon, though McVay’s and Rams General Manager Les Snead’s press availability at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine at least provides an opportunity to change that.
As it stands, the mystery around Gurley’s knee and the effect it had on the ending of the Rams’ 2018 season continues to deepen.