Rams’ Cooper Kupp out Week 1 vs. Seahawks with hamstring injury

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Los Angeles Rams receiver Cooper Kupp will be out on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, said coach Sean McVay, who added that Kupp’s availability past that time is still unknown. The Rams could place Kupp on injured reserve, which would require him to miss at least four games, but McVay said Wednesday they may not have to do that.

Kupp has been dealing with a hamstring issue since the beginning of training camp.

Kupp sought an evaluation from a specialist in Minnesota last weekend, a league source said. McVay later confirmed the appointment in a news conference on Monday. Kupp and the Rams wanted more clarity about the nature of the issue he has had with his hamstring, which McVay said “doesn’t fall in alignment with some of the things that have ended up occurring relative to the standard strains of the hamstring, just based on what’s occurred over the last month and a half.”

McVay said last Thursday that Kupp had suffered a “setback” in his recovery from the initial injury he had in the first week of training camp. He confirmed on Wednesday that the situation is the same issue, not separate strains/pulls.

Kupp had returned to practice on Aug. 21 and practiced through that week, including in Denver for joint practices with the Broncos.

Without Kupp, Van Jefferson steps into the No. 1 receiver role, while Tutu Atwell and Puka Nacua become Nos. 2 and 3. Depth receiver Ben Skowronek would likely have played more on special teams this season than in the offense, but if Kupp is absent into the season he knows each receiving position as well. The Rams signed veteran receiver Demarcus Robinson to a one-year deal this offseason as well.

The Rams also kept four tight ends this year, led by veteran Tyler Higbee.

Kupp, 30, had over one-third of the Rams’ target share in 2022 before he suffered a season-ending ankle injury after nine games. He had his ankle surgically repaired and was cleared to participate fully at the start of training camp this summer, and did so until the initial hamstring injury sidelined him a few days into those practices.

Kupp’s specific role as the “F” receiver, as well as his significant amount of option routes, means the Rams’ pass game and even their run-blocking system is dramatically altered. Having a healthy Kupp available with a healthy quarterback Matthew Stafford was a key point in the Rams’ belief that at least their offense could be competitive as they overhauled their defensive roster.

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(Photo: Kirby Lee/USA Today)

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