Aaron Donald unlikely to return this season, McVay says

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Aaron Donald is unlikely to return to the Los Angeles Rams’ defense this season.

Donald will miss his fourth straight game with a high ankle sprain Sunday when the Rams (4-10) host the Denver Broncos.

Coach Sean McVay admitted Friday that his seven-time All-Pro lineman and three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year isn’t expected to play in the final two meaningless games of the Rams’ disastrous Super Bowl title defense.

“He’s not cleared yet, and I don’t know that I see that changing in the next couple of weeks,” McVay said.

The 31-year-old Donald had never missed a game due to injury in his NFL career before this disappointing end to his ninth season. He has a career-low five sacks in 11 games, but was still named to his ninth Pro Bowl this week.

The Rams lost all but a mathematical hope of playoff contention during their recent six-game losing streak, yet they had been reluctant to rule out Donald for the season despite the obvious seriousness of his injury. Donald apparently had been interested in attempting to return even for meaningless games with the Rams, who have matched the 1999 Denver Broncos for the most losses in NFL history by a defending champ.

“Obviously, he’s a guy that has certainly earned the right where you talk to him” before ruling him out, McVay said of Donald.

McVay has made similar statements in previous weeks about Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp, who also incurred a high ankle sprain last month, and quarterback Matthew Stafford, who has bruising on his spinal cord. Although both are not firmly ruled out for the season, both are highly unlikely to play in the Rams’ final three games.

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