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Countdown to Camp #2: Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley’s knee remains focal point

The biggest storyline of the Rams’ Super Bowl run carries over into 2019.

Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley carries the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 15, Dec. 16, 2018.
Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley carries the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 15, Dec. 16, 2018.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As we near the opening of training camp for the 2019 Los Angeles Rams, we’re counting down the top storylines.

He’s just Todd Gurley.

The Los Angeles Rams made it to Super Bowl LIII amid the wild drama around Gurley’s knee. The drama was built around two poles: his usage and the public comments about his availability.

Having missed the last two games of the regular season, concerns over his knee were valid heading into the playoffs. But his performance in the NFC Championship against the New Orleans Saints in which he had just four carries and the subsequent public commentary on it from Gurley and Head Coach Sean McVay. was what really kicked the drama into full gear. And of course neither has been very forthcoming ever since leaving fans and media wondering what lies ahead.

And that’s where training camp comes in.

Gurley didn’t participate in organized team activities though he was at Rams HQ throughout the offseason program. That means camp will be the first time we’ll see Todd Gurley run with the football since the Super Bowl. It will be also be the first camp for 2019 NFL Draft third-round pick RB Darrell Henderson. Per various reports, the Rams are preparing to ensure “be better later in the season as opposed to maybe not having as much left.” That would signal a limitation to his availability early on in the season. Will we get a sense of that in camp? Will Gurley or McVay cop to any kind of limitation ahead?

What’s clear is that the condition of Gurley’s knee is subject to context and nuance. It’s not the kind of injury like WR Cooper Kupp’s ACL or RB Malcolm Brown’s clavicle with specific timetables for rehabilitation. McVay and Gurley avoided the opportunity to adhere to that context or nuance with their public comments throughout the playoffs last year instead opting to be misleading at best.

Whatever lies ahead for Just Todd in 2019 and beyond, it begins in camp this weekend.