Los Angeles Rams star wide receiver Cooper Kupp has been dealing with a hamstring issue over the course of the summer. Initially, there wasn’t much concern about his availability for Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks.
That could change, Rams head coach Sean McVay provided a concerning update on Kupp’s status in talking to reporters on Thursday.
McVay indicated that the record-breaking receiver suffered a setback in his return from the injury. While Kupp is considered day-to-day, we know how much hamstring issues tend to linger. It’s considered a muscle strain.
“We’re obviously a much better team when he’s out there,” McVay told reporters.
- Cooper Kupp stats (2022): 75 receptions, 812 yards, 6 TD, 76.5% catch rate
Kupp missed the final eight games of last season with a high-ankle sprain that ended up requiring surgery. This latest injury is not associated with that. However, it is concerning that he’s now dealing with another lower-body issue for the second time in well less than a calendar year.
Related: Updated NFL injury report
Cooper Kupp injury update and impact on the Los Angeles Rams
The Rams had a housecleaning of sorts this past offseason after an injury-plagued 2022 campaign saw the team lose 12 games. That included trading Pro Bowl wide receiver Allen Robinson to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Kupp’s importance to the Rams is by now well known. During the team’s run to the Super Bowl title back in 2021, Kupp recorded 145 receptions. It represented the second-most in single-season NFL history. That season also saw him tally 1,947 yards through the air.
With Kupp potentially sidelined for Week 1, third-year receiver Tutu Atwell would take over starting slot duties. The smallish 5-foot-9 Louisville product has caught all of 18 passes in three seasons. Though, he’s raised some eyebrows thus far this summer.
“I think it’s really early,” Rams head coach Sean McVay told reporters in late July, “but Tutu Atwell is a guy that’s really done an excellent job. He’s super smart. Obviously, he’s well known for his speed, but he’s really done a great job in this offseason and it showed up today of really establishing himself, playing with aggressive hands, understanding the nuances of how we want to work edges and separate where he fits within the concepts.”
Even with Kupp’s injury not being considered long-term, Atwell is a decent fantasy football sleeper given the Rams’ lack of overall talent on offense. Right now, he’s the third option for Matthew Stafford in Los Angeles’ passing game.