Rams' Matthew Stafford has sprained thumb ligament. Stetson Bennett is unlikely to play this season

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Matthew Stafford has a sprained ligament in his right thumb, possibly sidelining the Rams' starting quarterback for Los Angeles' visit to Green Bay on Sunday.

Although coach Sean McVay didn't rule out his Super Bowl-winning quarterback Monday, he said the Rams (3-5) are looking for another quarterback to pair with backup Brett Rypien in practice this week in case Stafford's sprained UCL prevents him from playing against the Packers.

“We definitely have to get some contingency plans in order,” McVay said. “We've got Brett Rypien on the roster, and there's some other possibilities that we'll explore, that we're in the midst of working through.”

That search won't include rookie fourth-round pick Stetson Bennett, who has been away from the Rams since the preseason for undisclosed reasons. McVay acknowledged for the first time that the two-time College Football Playoff-winning quarterback is unlikely to play for Los Angeles this season.

“He's doing well,” McVay said. “There's really no update in regards to him returning back with us. I'm not ready to say that he won't be back with us at all this year, but it's probably less likely than it is likely he would be.”

Stafford took three significant hits to his thumb in the Rams' 40-23 loss at Dallas, but he kept playing until he jammed his thumb while catching a 2-point conversion pass from Tutu Atwell in the third quarter. Rypien finished the Rams' blowout loss, but McVay is hoping Stafford will recover quickly enough to play in the Rams' final game before their bye week.

“There's obviously some swelling and some bruising,” McVay said. “It's a significant part of being able to throw the football, and this is an injury that he's previously had, so there's some scar tissue. There's a lot of things to it, but it's really about (seeing) what happens in the next 24 to 48 hours.”

Stafford had surgery on this thumb in the spring of 2021, shortly after the Rams acquired him in a trade with Detroit. He promptly led the Rams to a championship in the 2021-22 season.

“We were encouraged that it was a sprain,” McVay said. “I think there was some potential concerns that it could be worse. It might have even been some scar tissue from the previous thing, where you’re kind of breaking it up from that previous surgery that he had. So hopefully it was just a good scare. That’s what the scans revealed, and then we’ll see how quickly some of the stuff that’s key and critical to being able to throw the football and some of those symptoms subside.”

Stafford is seventh in the NFL with 2,070 yards passing this season. His 59.7% completion rate is the lowest among the league's top 22 quarterbacks in yards, and he has thrown seven interceptions against just eight touchdown passes.

The Rams have experience in preparing a quarterback on short notice. Baker Mayfield famously joined the Rams on a Tuesday and beat the Las Vegas Raiders on the ensuing Thursday last season.

Los Angeles has carried only two quarterbacks on its roster this season in Bennett's absence. McVay said the decision was made partly to create flexibility in other areas of player acquisition.

NOTES: Rams CB Cobie Durant had a stinger in his neck in Dallas. He will be limited in practice early this week, but should play in Green Bay. ... Rookie WR Puka Nacua is experiencing knee swelling, so he is likely to be limited in practice. ... Rookie P Ethan Evans sprained his ankle on a Dallas punt return, but McVay isn't sure how serious it is.


AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL