The Los Angeles Rams received devastating news in July when Cam Akers tore his Achilles, but at least Sean McVay knew that he had an experienced running back in his system with backup Darrell Henderson. It was Henderson who rushed for 195 yards on 32 carries in Weeks 2 and 3 of last season when Akers suffered a rib cartilage injury in mid-September.
Almost exactly one year later, it is Henderson who has the rib cartilage injury, and Sony Michel as the experienced veteran ready to step in, if necessary. It is probably necessary.
Akers missed two games last season when he suffered a rib cartilage injury against the Philadelphia Eagles. The 2020 second round pick was inactive for Weeks 3 and 4 against the Bills and Giants, then returned for 13 snaps against the Washington Football Team in Week 5.
Despite only playing in 13 snaps, Akers finished the game with nine carries for 61 yards.
But McVay only gave Akers four snaps over the next two games, then 67 snaps total over the next four.
What is probably most important is not the amount that Akers played in November however, but that initial month after suffering a rib cartilage injury. Though these are two different players with different bodies and different degrees of the injury, the Rams know that they have a recent example of how long this issues is known to effect a running back and McVay might even go into the week thinking, “Henderson could be out for a minimum of two weeks.”
Dr. Jesse Morse, YouTube Fantasy Football Doctor, which sounds like the job title for a contestant on The Bachelorette, noted that rib cartilage injuries are extremely painful and that there “are a lot of nerves in there and they don’t heal well.” Dr. Morse felt that a rib cartilage injury would be “awful” but is probably the best case scenario and that it can take “3-4 weeks” to heal.
In any case, it is Sony Michel and Jake Funk who will get more opportunities in practice as LA prepares for their Sunday afternoon home showdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team that ranks first against the run — by a considerable margin — since the start of last season.
Expect this showdown to turn into a throw-down.