By Cedric Williams
As they began preparations for the franchise’s first NFL playoff game since 2004, the Los Angeles Rams had concerns about a number of their players possibly being unavailable to play in the actual game. But as the week moved along, the news about player availability continued to get better and better.
Only one player on Rams’ injury report
The best of that news probably came Friday, when the Rams released their official Wild Card Game injury report and only one player’s name was listed on it. Reserve wide receiver Michael Thomas, whose been nursing an ankle injury, was listed as doubtful for Saturday’s matchup at The Coliseum against the Atlanta Falcons.
Cooper, Barron will likely play
Pharoh Cooper, another Rams reserve wide receiver who also serves as LA’s primary kickoff and punt return man, has a shoulder injury that had coaches concerned, especially since he was unable to practice on Tuesday and Wednesday. But Cooper was feeling better on Friday and was a full participant in practice, which has Rams coaches believing he will be available to play on Saturday.
Linebacker Mark Barron, who has a sore Achilles, was also a concern. After last week’s game, Rams coaches weren’t sure he’d be able to play. But Barron was also a full participant in practice on Friday and is expected to play and start against Atlanta.
Atlanta also healthy
The Falcons also released their official injury report late Friday evening and that club reported all of its players as available for Saturday.
Atlanta’s biggest concern was starting running back Devonta Freeman, who has a knee injury that made some question whether he’d be able to play against the Rams. But on Friday, the Falcons announced that despite missing practice on Tuesday and being a limited participant on Wednesday and Thursday, Freeman is available to play and will start on Saturday.
Falcons coach Dan Quinn told the Atlanta-area media on Thursday that Freeman “showed no limitations while running and cutting” during Atlanta’s team practice on Thursday.