Sean McVay tried to make himself clear.
Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is in concussion protocol but does not have a concussion, the coach said Wednesday. The 14th-year pro will not play Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs because of a neck condition, not a concussion, McVay explained.
There is no timetable for Stafford’s return.
“He’ll still need to be able to take those necessary steps to be able to potentially get cleared, but that does not mean he has a concussion or has been diagnosed with one yet,” McVay said.
Stafford’s status for Sunday and beyond had been in doubt since he was removed from last Sunday’s defeat by the New Orleans Saints. Stafford had been cleared from concussion protocol two days earlier after recovering from an injury sustained Nov. 6 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Stafford left the game in New Orleans after he was sacked in the third quarter. He told team trainers he felt numbness in his legs, McVay said, and he was examined on the field in a medical tent. Stafford was placed in the concussion protocol again this week.
Stafford also has been evaluated this week for neck and spine conditions, McVay said.
“As a result of some of those evaluations and because we pulled him out of the game, he is in the concussion protocol,” McVay said. “That does not mean he has a concussion.”
Bryce Perkins or John Wolford will start at quarterback Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. The Rams are 3-7 and have lost four games in a row.
Last season, Stafford passed for 41 touchdowns and led the Rams to the Super Bowl title. In March, he signed a four-year extension that includes $120 million in guarantees. This season, he has passed for 10 touchdowns with eight interceptions.
Now the Rams must determine if it is worth playing him the rest of the season.
Stafford’s latest injury comes two weeks after star receiver Cooper Kupp suffered an ankle injury that required surgery. Kupp is on injured reserve and will be sidelined at least three more games.
Would the Rams consider placing Stafford on injured reserve?
“It’s a week at a time at this point,” McVay said.
Stafford’s first stint in the concussion protocol began Nov. 8, two days after the Buccaneers sacked him four times. Stafford met with Dr. Michael Collins, a concussion expert in Pittsburgh, McVay said, and the quarterback sat out the Rams’ defeat by the Arizona Cardinals on Nov. 13.
Now Stafford is back in the protocol.
“The most important thing is let’s see how he’s feeling,” McVay said, adding, “We’re not going to do anything that’s reckless.”
Wolford started against the Cardinals but was inactive against the Saints because of a neck injury. He was limited Wednesday, according to the injury report.
Perkins played against the Cardinals and replaced Stafford in the second half against the Saints, leading the Rams to two field goals.
McVay said Perkins would get the majority of first-team reps Wednesday.
The Rams signed quarterback Case Cookus to the practice squad Wednesday. Cookus played at Thousand Oaks High and at Northern Arizona but has not played in an NFL game.
In 2020, he signed with the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent but was released during training camp. In 2021, he was signed and waived by the Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings and Las Vegas Raiders. He played most recently in the USFL.
Defensive lineman A’Shawn Robinson suffered torn meniscus against the Saints and will have surgery, McVay said. … McVay said the decisions to waive running back Darrell Henderson and linebacker Justin Hollins were “best just for our team and the for the players moving forward — just where we’re at. Gives us an opportunity to be able to evaluate some players at those positions.” Henderson was claimed by the Jacksonville Jaguars. “That’s my brother,” running back Cam Akers said. “A lot of people on the team consider him a brother too. Hated to see him go, but obviously want him to be in the best situation for him.” The Green Bay Packers claimed Hollins. … Center Brian Allen (thumb), tight end Tyler Higbee (knee) and offensive lineman Ty Nsehke (ankle) did not practice. Receiver Allen Robinson (ankle) was limited.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.