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Rams' Sean McVay rules out Aaron Donald (ankle) vs. Broncos; DT unlikely to play again in 2022

Aaron Donald missed his first game due to injury in his career this season, and it appears that same reason will prevent him from returning at all in 2022.

Donald is out for Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos, coach Sean McVay said Friday. When asked if Donald might play again this season, McVay kept his reply simple: "Probably not."

There's little reason to play Donald at this point in a lost season for the defending Super Bowl champions. Los Angeles was dealt a brutal hand in 2022, and injuries to Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp and Donald ended up serving as the final blow. Donald suffered his high ankle sprain in Week 12, forcing him out for the first time in his Hall of Fame career, and the injury will likely end his season after 11 games played, 49 tackles, five sacks, 10 tackles for loss and one forced fumble.

At 4-10 and officially eliminated from postseason contention, the Rams are left only to play out the string, a process more useful as a fact-finding mission than as another 12 quarters of work for their established stars. Donald isn't exactly the youngest player, either, making his participation in these games largely pointless.

It is interesting, though, to see how the approach has shifted in the last few weeks. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Donald was hopeful he could return by Week 14 or 15, with a target placed on Los Angeles' Monday night game in Green Bay.

He wasn't able to return in time, and it seems he's accepted reality: It's best to sit out the rest of this season to preserve his health.

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