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Rams DT Aaron Donald (ankle) hopes to return in two weeks

The Rams have placed so many of their stars on injured reserve this season, with quarterback Matthew Stafford being the latest on Saturday afternoon. All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald, however, has no plans to join Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Allen Robinson, Joe Noteboom and others with that designation.

Sources said Donald suffered a mild high ankle sprain in a Week 12 loss to the Chiefs, and the hope is he can return in about two weeks. His ankle is currently immobilized, but that's not an indication of seriousness for the injury.

In fact, Donald's ankle being unable to move should promote healing, and he could return for the Packers game on Dec. 19. The way Donald is wired, he has no plans to shut it down regardless of the team's record (the Rams currently are 3-8 and in last place in the NFC West).

To be sure, nothing has gone right for the Super Bowl champs. Stafford being placed on IR is a perfect symbol of that. The Rams will start QB John Wolford today, but backup Bryce Perkins is expected to play with a package of plays.

The Rams did not shut down Stafford due to the team's record, sources say, even if the end result could be the same with him not playing again this season.

Stafford exited the NFL's concussion protocol late this week, and he was never diagnosed with a second concussion. Sources say his neck is still an issue. While he has improved, the nerve issue that caused numbness in Stafford's legs still needs to calm down.

Stafford's neck would not allow him to play today, and he likely would have missed Thursday night's game against the Raiders as well given the closeness of games and no standard practices between Sunday and Thursday. With the Rams dealing with so many injuries -- and needing a roster spot -- plus Stafford likely missing two games anyway, IR made sense.

The QB does have a chance to return for the final two games of the season, and that hasn't been ruled out completely. If the team is as far out of the playoff race as it may be by early January, playing him might make no sense.

Additionally, tanking for a draft pick doesn't work for Los Angeles. The Lions have their first-round pick thanks to the Stafford trade back in 2021, a pick that is currently slated to be fourth overall.

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