Los Angeles Rams believe CB Aqib Talib can return late this season

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THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Rams left open the possibility that Aqib Talib could return to play this season after the cornerback underwent surgery Thursday to repair an ankle injury suffered in a Week 3 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Rams feared surgery would reveal a season-ending injury, but that was not the case, coach Sean McVay said, adding that Talib could recover in time to be taken off the injured reserve list and play the final few games of the season.

"We're very encouraged," McVay said. "And I know Aqib feels that way and we're looking forward to getting him back. I don't know exactly what that date would be but I know that the anticipation is to get him back."

Talib would be eligible to return from injured reserve the first week of December.

The Rams acquired Talib, 32, from the Denver Broncos in exchange for a fifth-round pick in March.

A five-time Pro Bowl selection, Talib has two pass deflections and a forced fumble in three games this season.

Cornerback Sam Shields started in Talib's absence in a 38-31 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday as the Rams improved to 4-0.