During Super Bowl LIII, fans and journalists alike were left confused about why Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley II wasn’t getting more carries out of the Rams’ backfield, especially since the team’s anemic offense generated nothing of value in a meek 13-3 loss to the New England Patriots.
Gurley had just 10 carries for 35 yards in the loss, spending most of the game on the sideline.
After a season where Gurley excelled with 1,831 yards from scrimmage and 21 total touchdowns, Rams fans were left to ponder why their 24-year-old superstar was used so sparingly in their Super Bowl loss.
A new report not only provides an answer to that question but might just ruin the whole day of those Rams fans.
Gurley, according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic, has arthritis in his knee.
Rams running back Todd Gurley has arthritis in his knee, according to a source. Helps explain his limited usage in the playoffs.
— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) March 2, 2019
Gurley had his ACL repaired in 2014, and it appears that after four years of playing football on that knee, the damage has continued to degenerate.
At the scouting combine in Indianapolis, Rams coach Sean McVay discussed options in order to get Gurley healthy.
A team source told CBS that the Rams are considering every option for the left knee of their star, up to and including stem cell transplants that may assist in regrowing the lost cartilage that causes the bone-on-bone contact and intense pain of arthritis.
Gurley is signed for $60 million on his contract, which makes the report of an arthritic knee even more troubling.
That huge salary is currently sitting on the Rams’ cap. If Gurley goes missing, it’s not like they’ll have much money to sign a suitable replacement.
And even though the NFL has become a rookie-contract league, the Rams still would have to draft and develop a running back, losing out on the chance to draft at a position of need.
What’s more, long-term, losing Gurley means the Rams’ championship window, which are fleeting in the NFL with perhaps the glaring exception of the New England Patriots, may already be closing.
McVay, for his part, is willing to do what it takes to fix their star running back, so long as Gurley is on board.
“As far as the stem cells, that’s not something that’s been communicated to me, but there is a program,” McVay said during a one-on-one interview with CBS Sports at the NFL combine on Thursday . “We’ve got these doctors and there’s always new methods of staying as up-to-date as you can, and number one, the player has to feel good about it. Todd does such a good job of doing his own research and knowing what are the things (he) can do.”
In addition, McVay pointed toward advances in technology in hopes that something new and experimental can be used to save Gurley’s ailing knee.
“I think every year provides a new opportunity based on the research and some of the medical advances to attack it in the right way,” McVay added. “As long as Todd is feeling good about that, that’s what we’ll do.”
Gurley will turn 25 in August, so it’s possible that youth is still on his side.
But the results are rarely good for running backs who suffer from torn knee ligaments and the residual effects of that tear. It might be panic time for Rams fans when the season comes if Gurley can’t stay on the football field.
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