Stafford returns to practice, expected to clear concussion protocol in time for Saints game

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Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford is expected to clear concussion protocol and play in Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints, according to head coach Sean McVay.

The reigning Super Bowl QB missed the Rams' 27-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, but returned to practice on Wednesday.

McVay indicated he expected Stafford to clear protocol by Friday, having entered on November 8 in the days after their 16-13 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"The doctors are making sure, everybody, himself, his family, feels good about it," McVay told reporters. "That's always been the priority, the person, the safety, the health.

"But if he is fully cleared and he and his family feel good about that, then I know he's chomping at the bit to be out there with his guys."

McVay said if Stafford was cleared as late as Friday that would not impact his availability for Sunday's game.

"It's not going to inhibit his ability to participate in practice, be a full participant in meetings, all that kind of stuff," he said. "It's just kind of following the necessary steps to fully be cleared."

John Wolford, who stepped in for Stafford but struggled against the Cardinals, did not practice on Wednesday due to a neck issue.

Stafford has a 68.4 per cent completion rate this season, passing for 1,928 yards and eight touchdowns and eight interceptions for the Rams who are 3-6 and last in the NFC West.

The Rams will definitely be without wide receiver and 2021 AP Offensive Player of the Year Cooper Kupp who has undergone ankle surgery following an injury sustained against the Cardinals.

"It's going to give a lot of guys an opportunity to step up," McVay said. "Anytime you lose a guy like that, you never replace him.

"Cooper, we all know what a special player, special person he is. That's a big loss, without a doubt, but it will provide a lot of opportunities for other guys to get chances that they wouldn’t otherwise. You have to look at it through that lens."

Saints head coach Dennis Allen confirmed they will stick with quarterback Andy Dalton for Sunday's game, despite considering a change to Jameis Winston who is available again after injury but not yet 100 per cent.