Running back Cam Akers tore his Achilles in July, knocking him out for the season. Despite an injury that previously spelled doom for some players' careers, the Rams are still holding out hope that the second-year player could return for this year's postseason run.
Sean McVay told Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic that the club believes Akers could return for a playoff run.
"You don't want to be presumptuous, but if we are able to make the playoffs and give ourselves a chance to play after (the regular season), the expectation is that Cam would be available to play," McVay said. "He's on track to do that. He was running at 80 percent body weight at 10 miles per hour pretty effortlessly, and from the cameras that I saw last week that are kind of right behind his feet on the treadmill, unless you saw the scar you wouldn't notice any sort of hitch in his giddy-up on that. He's attacking the rehab the right way.
"He's doing great. I think the plan is, if we're able to play past the regular season, we'll get Cam back this year and he'll be playing in the playoffs."
The 6-1 Rams sit second in the NFC West behind undefeated Arizona and have a 2.5 game lead for a Wild Card spot. Given how the Rams are playing with Matthew Stafford at quarterback, it'd be stunning if they missed the postseason entirely in a top-heavy NFC.
Akers led the Rams with 145 carries for 625 yards with two touchdowns as a rookie, and added 11 catches for 123 yards and another score in 13 games played. The team planned for Akers to be the workhorse in 2021. The young RB fits McVay's preferred running scheme to perfection, with speed to get to the edge and tackle-breaking ability. Unfortunately, the Achilles' injury wiped out that plan.
Still, McVay isn't ruling out getting the RB back in January.
"When you're seeing him, and you ask about the progress … You ask Cam, there is no doubt in his mind that he'll be ready if that opportunity presents itself. That's what he is preparing for," McVay told Rodrigue. "I think I'm always looking at (Akers) as a plus-one because I still think that is asking a lot. Until you really have tangible evidence of, 'What can he do?' I am kind of looking at him as a bonus.
"Like, holy shit. You get him back, that's unbelievable for our team. And if he's actually the Cam that we all know, now you can start to run some different personnels where you can start to put some pressure on people with he and Darrell in the game at the same time. I think what I would say is, 'cautious optimism' would probably be an appropriate (phrase)."