For the last few weeks, the Los Angeles Rams have been without starting outside linebacker Clay Matthews due to a jaw fracture that he suffered in Week 5 against the Seattle Seahawks.
Matthews was having a resurgent season after signing with his hometown Rams as a free agent in the offseason. In his first five games with Los Angeles before going down with the injury, Matthews had 19 total tackles and a team-leading six sacks. For comparison, his career-high in sacks for a full 16-game season during his 10 years with the Green Bay Packers is 13.5.
When he was first diagnosed with the jaw fracture, the hope was that Matthews would be able to return after the team’s bye week, potentially getting on the field as early as Week 10 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Now that the bye week has come and gone, it appears that Matthews is progressing well and that is still the case. Rams head coach Sean McVay said earlier in the week that he was returning to the practice field, and now Matthews himself told Gary Klein of the L.A. Times that he expects to play this weekend in Pittsburgh:
Clay Matthews said he expects to play Sunday against Steelers.
— Gary Klein (@LATimesklein) November 6, 2019
This is obviously great news for the Rams as their defense will be getting one of its top difference-makers back. Since the addition of Jalen Ramsey, the Rams defense has found its footing a bit so the hope is that Matthews will add to that and make them even better to finish out the season.
The Steelers boast perhaps the best offensive line in all of football as their quarterbacks have only been sacked a league-low eight times in eight games. With Matthews being the Rams’ top pass rusher, they are getting him back at the best time possible.