Alden Gonzalez, ESPN Staff Writer 13d

Rams have so far been fortunate on the injury front



THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Jamon Brown considers the Los Angeles Rams' injury situation, balls his right hand into a fist and lightly knocks twice on the slab of wood that helps make up his locker.

It's Week 10, and the Rams are as fortunate as an NFL team can hope for on that front.

In a season during which star players have suffered serious injuries across the league, the Rams pretty much boast a clean bill of health. Every Week 1 starter is expected to be available and healthy for Sunday's game (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS) against the Houston Texans, a team that has lost its franchise quarterback (Deshaun Watson) and its three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year (J.J. Watt) for the rest of this season.

The Rams were the NFL's healthiest team last season, according to Football Outsiders' Adjusted Games Lost metric. They're just as healthy this season, with defensive back Lamarcus Joyner and cornerback Kayvon Webster the only starters who have missed time.

This season, though, they're actually taking advantage of it.

"When we stay healthy, then we can reach our full potential," said Brown, the starting right guard for a Rams team that is 6-2 and leads the NFL in point margin. "And I think, up to this point in the season -- knock on wood -- you see that really coming into play. Everybody's been healthy for the most part. As long as we take care of ourselves, take care of our bodies, stay healthy throughout the season, I love the team that we can be."

Aaron Rodgers, Dalvin Cook, Odell Beckham Jr., Julian Edelman and Eric Berry are some of the other stars who have been lost to freak injuries. On Sunday, the Rams will play a second straight game against a team ravaged by injuries, the Minnesota Vikings, whose two top quarterbacks have been sidelined by serious knee injuries (Teddy Bridgewater last year, Sam Bradford this year). Two weeks after that, they'll play an Arizona Cardinals team without its starting quarterback (Carson Palmer) or its starting running back (David Johnson).

The Rams haven't been completely injury-free, of course. Starting defensive lineman Dominique Easley (torn ACL) and No. 3 tight end Temarrick Hemingway (broken fibula) suffered season-ending injuries before the season even started. Backup safety Cody Davis was recently placed on injured reserve because of a quad injury, and backup running back Malcolm Brown is nursing an MCL injury that is expected to keep him out a while.

But the Rams are doing a lot better than most, and that's as big a key to their surprising success as anything else. Rams coach Sean McVay continually has credited the Rams' training staff for being proactive and diligent.

But the players feel fortunate, too.

"To be honest with you, all it takes is one play," Brown said. "It doesn’t necessarily have to be a gruesome play; it can be something simple, and that can turn into something that's just season-ending or anything like that. So, you're superstitious about it."

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