Andrew Whitworth's season was in jeopardy after the 39-year-old year offensive lineman suffered a torn MCL and damage to his PCL back in Week 10. But on Thursday, Rams coach Sean McVay said that the Rams could possibly have Whitworth back in the lineup for the postseason.
A 15-year veteran and four-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle, Whitworth has been working diligently in an effort to make it back before the end of the 2020 season. The Rams have received solid play in the interim from Joe Noteboom, a 2018 third-round pick who has replaced Whitworth in the starting lineup.
"Andrew is doing great," McVay said of Whitworth ahead of Sunday's home game against the Jets. "He continues to amaze me. We could potentially really push to have him play for the Cardinals game [in Week 17] or maybe next week. But I think the most important thing is to take it a day at a time. If we're fortunate enough to get an opportunity to play after the regular season, I think that's the goal. But nothing is guaranteed for us. We haven't done anything yet.
"He could really push it, but the goal is when Andrew comes back to be the Andrew Whitworth that we know. If you said what does that look like, I think you could really push it and saying maybe the last game against Arizona. But I think what would be more ideal is if we get an opportunity to play after the regular season, seeing him in that first game."
Rams LT Andrew Whitworth - who turned 39 last week - tore his MCL and PCL in Week 10 and is making progress to return. Sean McVay says they could “Really push” for him to play in Week 16 or 17, but that it’s more ideal to have him return for playoffs. (Video via Whitworth’s IG) pic.twitter.com/fLhuvJD2eD— Lindsey Thiry (@LindseyThiry) December 18, 2020
When Whitworth will play again largely depends on whether or not the Rams can secure the NFC's No. 1 seed. Los Angeles (9-4) currently has a slight lead over the Seahawks in the NFC South division race. The two teams will face each other in Seattle in Week 16 in a game that may determine who wins the division. Los Angeles enters the weekend one game back of the Packers and Saints in the race to secure the No. 1 seed.
Despite Whitworth's absence over the past four games, the Rams are currently eighth in the NFL in rushing. They've received a recent boost from rookie running back Cam Akers, who rush for a season-high 171 yards on 29 carries in last Thursday night's win over the Patriots. The Rams have also received stellar play from their defense. First-year defensive coordinator Brandon Staley's unit is third in the NFL in scoring and rushing, first in passing, and second in third down efficiency through 13 games. Aaron Donald spearheads the group with 12.5 sacks and four forced fumbles. His play has been complemented by linebacker Leonard Floyd (7.5 sacks) and defensive backs Darious Williams (four interceptions, 13 passes defensed), Jordan Fuller (three interceptions) and perennial Pro Bowler Jalen Ramsey.
Los Angeles is considered one of the top contenders to represent the conference in Super Bowl LV. The Rams' continued success is surely one of the main motivating factors that has been driving Whitworth's comeback, as the veteran lineman is hoping to cap off his career with a Super Bowl victory.