Looks like LA Rams X-Man running back era is over before it began

Mandatory Credit: C. Morgan Engel-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: C. Morgan Engel-USA TODAY Sports /

The LA Rams welcomed back injured running back Xavier Jones this year. But after suffering an Achilles Tendon injury, Jones simply was unable to compete this year. An undrafted rookie who overcame the most adverse conditions to be selected by an NFL team, compete in virtual training camp and ultimately win a spot on the Rams’ 53-man roster in the 2020 NFL season.

Only to suffer a season-ending Achilles Tendon tear in his second season. Unlike his teammate Cam Akers, Jones was unable to recover in record time, and now appears to be suffering from the same or new injury.

That’s heartbreaking news.

And so, the X-man era of the LA Rams rushing attack has ended before it ever began.

Rams rehabbing RBs

The LA Rams were clearly rolling the dice on so many running backs returning for the 2022 NFL season after injury. We know that Xavier Jones and Cam Akers suffered Achilles Tendon tears. Akers employed a rather cutting-edge technology that reattached tendon and muscle fibers individually, which accelerated the recovery time significantly. I cannot confirm the surgical strategy that was used to repair Jones’s ankle, but the results were not nearly as effective.

Running back Raymond Calais injured his foot, requiring surgery and ending his season. Rookie RB Jake Funk tore his hamstring, requiring surgery. And RB Darrell Henderson Jr. injured his ribs in September, suffered a concussion in November, and injured his knee in December last year.

The Rams did draft rookie RB Kyren Williams, who promptly injured his foot and has been unable to practice ever since. The good news is that Williams is expected to return in time to compete during the preseason.

I suppose the biggest heartbreak for me is simply the absence of a bigger-bodied running back. In 2020, the LA Rams had veteran running back Malcolm Brown. In 2021, the Rams traded a sixth-round and future fourth-round draft pick to the New England Patriots for RB Sony Michel, only to let him walk away uncontested in the NFL Free Agency market.

Xavier Jones, a 5-foot-11 208-pound running back who had a great college reputation for sniffing the end zone, never carried the football for the LA Rams offense. Jones has time to heal up, try out again, and perhaps sign on with another NFL team. But any hopes for a burst to the end zone in short yardage by Jones for the score have been dashed now.

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