One of the biggest storylines in the NFL stemming from last season is the status of Todd Gurley's knee injury. This offseason, there were reports that the Los Angeles Rams star running back has arthritis in his knee.
Going back to this last season, Gurley suffered a knee injury in Week 1 against the Oakland Raiders. The Rams and Gurley never made it a huge deal until later in the season.
In 2018, Gurley had himself a phenomenal season by rushing for 1,251 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also tacked on 59 receptions, 580 yards, and four scores through the air. Watching him play and seeing his numbers, it was hard to tell he was dealing with an injury behind the scenes.
It looked like Gurley was on his way to having an even better season than he did in 2017, when he was named the AP Offensive Player of the Year. Then, his knee started to become a larger issue than he imagined.
The Rams knew there was going to be a risk drafting Gurley a year after the running back tore his ACL in his junior season at Georgia. Until last year, there hadn't been any issues with his knees to cause any concerns.
This whole offseason, the front office and coaching staff have been hesitant to speak about the knee injury in its entirety. They've recognized that Gurley has a knee injury but have yet to go into detail on what the issue is exactly.
Could this mean that its worse than we're being led to believe? Should this cause concern in regards to Gurley moving forward? There should be some slight concern if you're a Rams fan due to the lack of information coming out of Los Angeles.
Earlier this offseason, general manager Les Snead said the Rams will have to monitor Gurley's workload moving forward. That wasn't exactly what fans wanted to hear after Los Angeles gave Gurley a four-year, $57.5 million extension just last offseason.
As Snead mentioned before, the Rams have given Gurley a large workload for the past few seasons. Over the last three seasons, the Rams running back has 979 touches and 5,136 scrimmage yards.
Not many guys can withstand that type of workload year after year. Let alone a guy who had a knee issue before he arrived in the NFL. At some point, Los Angeles was going to need a plan to limit Gurley's touches to keep him fresh for the latter part of the season.
In this year's draft, the Rams drafted Darrell Henderson in the third round out of Memphis. By drafting Henderson, it showed that the Rams are fully committed to easing the load on Gurley. Henderson figures to see the field as a change-of-pace back and receiving threat.
While fans were not all that pleased to see their team trade up to draft a running back, drafting Henderson may not mean that Gurley's injury is worse than we thought. Every team in the NFL is turning toward having a two- or three-man backfield to keep guys fresh.
For instance, the New England Patriots had a plethora of guys in the mix for them last season. Sony Michel, James White, and Rex Burkhead all contributed at certain times. The Patriots hoisted their sixth Lombardi Trophy in franchise history.
Teams are trying to match the blueprint that New England has mapped out. Therefore, regardless of Gurley's injury status, the Rams needed to bring someone else in. Bringing another guy in is a positive thing in the sense of extending Gurley's career.
Running backs usually have short careers due to the wear and tear on their bodies. We've seen guys like Barry Sanders, Jim Brown, and Bo Jackson all retire earlier than expected due to the beating they took.
One of the only reasons why fans are concerned in the first place is the extension that Gurley received last offseason. Rams fans have the right to be concerned with the lack of information we've gotten surrounding Gurley. Although, people should be careful jumping to conclusions without knowing the whole situation.
So, should Rams fans be concerned heading into the 2019 season? Yes, in a sense. Regardless, Gurley will likely have another productive season in one of the best offenses in the NFL.