Rams TE Tyler Higbee to have surgery on torn ACL, MCL – Orange County Register

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Rams tight end Tyler Higbee suffered a torn ACL and MCL during Sunday’s playoff loss to the Detroit Lions, head coach Sean McVay confirmed during a Zoom press conference Wednesday.

Higbee will undergo surgery for the knee injury, which he suffered in the second half Sunday when Lions safety Kerby Joseph went low to break up a pass and flipped Higbee into the air.

“He is such a tough stud and means so much to our team in so many different ways, it’s unfortunate,” McVay said. “But he’s got the right mindset and spirit.”

The timing of the injury in mid-January puts into question whether Higbee, who signed a two-year contract extension with the Rams in September, will be ready for training camp or even the start of the season.

“When you get an ACL this late in the year, I’d be willing to bet you he’d be a candidate for [the physically unable to perform list],” McVay said. “But to put a timeline of exactly, you gotta get that surgery, the rehab ends up kinda being different based on what they end up really finding when you go in there and how the recovery and the procedure ends up going to fix that. But I would think at the minimum he’ll be a PUP guy.”

Higbee wasn’t the only Ram who required a medical procedure after Sunday’s game.

Running back Kyren Williams left the NFC wild-card game with a hand injury and was seen with a large wrap on his left hand in the postgame locker room. McVay said Williams had suffered a broken bone and had surgery Tuesday to repair to break.

The injury is not expected to impact availability next season for Williams, who broke out in his second season with 1,144 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns despite missing four games with an ankle sprain and sitting out Week 18 to rest for the playoffs.

Coaching staff status

Last offseason, the Rams underwent a major overhaul of their coaching staff, with eight departures from the team. McVay expects to have more continuity going into the 2024 season.

“If there’s changes, it’ll only be because of better opportunities,” McVay said. “I feel really good about our coaching staff. … Obviously there could be some chips that end up falling into place relative to [defensive coordinator Raheem Morris] getting an opportunity to be a head coach, but if that doesn’t occur, if people don’t get better opportunities, then we’ll have the same group back.”

One of those better opportunities emerged Monday, when USC announced that it had hired Rams defensive line coach Eric Henderson to be its co-defensive coordinator.

Henderson spent five seasons with the Rams, including the last three as defensive line coach and run game coordinator. He was a beloved figure among his position group and played a big role in developing young players like Kobie Turner over the years.

“Basically established his own culture within the defensive line room, has had a really good track record of developing people, building relationships with our players,” McVay said. “I think there’s a toughness, there’s an identity that we played with on the defensive line that is a real credit to him. … [USC] was a good chance for he and his family to do something that was in alignment with some of his goals.”

McVay mentioned AC Carter as a potential internal candidate to replace Henderson. Carter served as Henderson’s second in command on the defensive line this year in his first season with the Rams and developed a reputation as a high-energy coach, especially during practices.

But with Morris still in the process of interviewing for head-coaching jobs – Morris is reportedly meeting with the Panthers on Wednesday, the Commanders on Thursday and the Seahawks on Friday – McVay will take a patient approach to filling Henderson’s old job.

“I think the appropriate direction to go is wait to see what exactly happens with Raheem before I make any decisions as it relates to any possible openings on the defensive side of the ball,” McVay said. “If we do lose Raheem, there will be a very patient, thorough and deliberate process in the same manner that was reflected last year.”

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