The Rams are entering Saturday’s playoff matchup with more uncertainty than they would like. Quarterback Jared Goff is still nursing his hand after the surgery to repair his thumb held him out of last week’s game against Arizona, and whether he will play is still up in the air. Wide Receiver Cooper Kupp appears to be eligible for the playoffs after being removed from the reserve/COVID list, but how often he will be used remains to be seen.
None of this is ideal, but the Rams just got the good news that they have been looking for. After 7 weeks of grueling rehab and intense training, left tackle Andrew Whitworth is on track to return for Saturday’s playoff game against the Seahawks.
When Whitworth suffered a horrific knee injury against the Seahawks back in Week 10, there was no certainty that he would return this season, let alone for another year in the NFL. Instead of feeling sorry for himself, however, the 39-year-old left tackle got to work and set a goal for himself: return in time for the playoff push.
And as he watched his team fight for their playoff lives last week against Arizona, the veteran big man realized that he wasn’t ready for his journey to end. “It made me crazy emotional,” Whitworth told SI’s Greg Bishop. “And that’s when I started to realize, Man, I’m ready.”
After being designated for return last week, it seemed that Andrew was on track for the playoffs, but it was still far from a certainty. While the injury didn’t require surgery, it is still a miracle for him to be game ready this early on in the recovery process. His determination to play and his desire to help his teammates only serves as a testament to what has made him one of football’s most coveted players.
Even at 39, Whitworth has been a critical piece of the puzzle for a Rams team that has sorely missed his presence. In the locker room, he is a leader, but on the field, he is Jared Goff’s best friend and biggest ally. For him to make his return against the last team he faced is almost poetic. And for the Ram’s Super Bowl hopes, his return comes at the best possible time.