At 3-2 to start the season, the Los Angeles Rams are in third place in the NFC West behind the undefeated San Francisco 49ers and the 4-1 Seattle Seahawks. This team needs to achieve victory in week six to stop a skid, but doing so has become more difficult now that running back Todd Gurley has been declared doubtful for the upcoming game.
According to head coach Sean McVay, the second-highest-paid running back in the league is unlikely to play against the 49ers due to a thigh contusion suffered against the rival Seahawks during last Thursday's loss. The final decision has not been made just yet. Gurley is a game-time decision and will go through warmups on Sunday morning.
"He's doubtful right now, so we'll have a little bit more clarity and it's really just kind of taking our time making that decision," McVay said to ESPN.
With three 1,000-yard seasons to his name, Gurley has been the driving force behind this Rams team since being selected 10th overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. He hasn't topped 100 yards in a game this season just yet while seeing his role change, but Gurley has still scored five touchdowns, including two in each of the past two games.
However, this season has been different considering that backup Malcolm Brown has been more involved in the offense. If Gurley can't play, he will be the man trusted to carry the ball early and often while rookie Darrell Henderson will see some snaps in relief.
Along with potentially missing this rivalry game, Gurley is also dealing with yet another year of wildfires in California. He is one of three Rams players, along with safety John Johnson and linebacker Samson Ebukam, that have been forced to evacuate their homes due to the fires.
"Those fires, I could smell them when I was driving over here," McVay said to ESPN. "This is now the third year in a row this stuff has happened. Obviously, I'm newer to this area, but it's so unfortunate when you have to watch people go through that and it's affecting three of our players right now and hopefully, it's something where they will be able to return to their homes with no damage done and guys get everything under control."
Last season, the Rams and Los Angeles Chargers both dealt with severe fires in southern California. These forced approximately 100 players, coaches and staff members from the Rams alone to evacuate their homes.