On Monday, Rams head coach Sean McVay confirmed via Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times that Puka Nacua is dealing with an AC sprain in his shoulder, but that it looks as though it should not affect the tough receiver’s ability to suit up against the Baltimore Ravens this weekend.
There was a collective “gasp” at SoFi stadium on Sunday when Los Angeles Rams rookie stand out wide receiver Puka Nacua was helped off the field in the second quarter with what looked like a serious injury. Luckily for LA, Nacua was able to return to the game and help his team get the victory against the Cleveland Browns.
Sean McVay says Puka Nacua has an AC sprain. Team may be careful with rest early in the week, but sounds like McVay expects him to play Sunday.— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) December 4, 2023
McVay also mentioned that Nacua may be a bit limited in practice this week to help manage the injury, saying:
“We might be smart with him early on in the week but don’t expect that to affect his ability to be ready to go.”
If Los Angeles hopes to win against the AFC leading 9-3 Baltimore Ravens they will need their best players on the field, and Nacua has been just that for them. The rookie has been explosive, making play after play like his 70-yard touchdown catch in the Browns game.
On the season, Nacua has 77 receptions, 1,029 yards and four touchdowns, setting the Rams’ franchise record for both receptions and receiving yards by a rookie in a single season. He is the first player in franchise history to ever break 1,000 yards receiving in a rookie season.
PUKA NACUA 70-YARD TD— NFL Fantasy Football (@NFLFantasy) December 3, 2023
14 FANTASY POINTS 9 SECONDS pic.twitter.com/dAvpK1dgvB
Nacua’s toughness and physical play has been something to take note of all season long. He has been able to play through multiple injuries, including a rib injury sustained Week 1 vs Seattle and some knee swelling the last couple weeks.
McVay took note of Nacua’s toughness after the game saying:
“It was his shoulder and his rib. I mean, what an unbelievable catch he makes on the sideline. I thought he was dead and then he comes back to life,” McVay continued “Can I say that anymore? I don’t know what I can say, but he is such a tough competitor. The way he battles through things, the physicality at which he plays this game. He brings an energy to our team that I think you can all feel when you watch. It’s why he’s so fun as a competitor, whether he’s got the ball, whether he doesn’t have the ball.”
Nacua may be one of the best draft picks of the McVay/Snead era, and he is starting to approach historic NFL season status. If Nacua averages 89 yards per game over the rest of the season, he will set the NFL single season receiving yardage record for all rookie receivers.