THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Los Angeles Rams receiver Cooper Kupp is returning to practice this week after missing the first four games of the season with a hamstring injury.
The Super Bowl 56 MVP entered the 21-day window for activation from injured reserve Wednesday along with rookie linebacker Ochaun Mathis, who also hasn’t played this season. The Rams (2-2) host Philadelphia on Sunday.
The 30-year-old Kupp strained his hamstring early in training camp and aggravated it in late August. He began this season on the injured list after also missing the final eight games of last season with an ankle injury.
Kupp won the NFL’s triple crown of receiving in 2021, catching 145 passes for 1,947 yards — the second-highest total in league history — and 16 touchdowns. He had 75 receptions for 812 yards and six TDs last season before his injury.
Kupp’s absence hasn’t been a crushing blow to the Rams so far. Quarterback Matthew Stafford is having an outstanding season, and rookie Puka Nacua improbably has become one of the NFL’s most productive receivers in Kupp’s place.
Nacua leads the league with 39 catches, and his 501 yards receiving are second to Minnesota’s Justin Jefferson. He made his first career touchdown reception in overtime last Sunday, leading Los Angeles to a 29-23 road victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
Tutu Atwell also has stepped up impressively in Kupp’s absence, catching 22 passes for 270 yards and a touchdown.
Mathis, a sixth-round pick who played at TCU and Nebraska, injured his knee early in training camp. He could provide depth for the Rams at edge rusher, where rookie Byron Young and Michael Hoecht have played most of the snaps.
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