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Matthew Stafford downplays elbow issue that is keeping him out of team drills

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The Los Angeles Rams and Sean McVay are in uncharted territory as they try to determine how to help QB Matthew Stafford recover from an elbow injury typically experienced by baseball players.

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford isn’t participating in team drills as he deals with an issue in his throwing elbow. He met with reporters on Saturday, and the arm issue obviously was a major topic. Stafford tried to make it a minor one.

“I just have a little soreness,” Stafford said. “We’re working through it. I felt pretty good today. I thought it looked pretty good. Just trying to be smart with it and make me feel as good as I can feel going into Week One while still getting as many reps as I can too.”

He said he has “general soreness” in the elbow. As to whether it happens after he throws or all the time, Stafford said, “I don’t know. It doesn’t matter.”

Stafford called the situation “irritating at the moment but I’m working through it.”

“We got a great plan,” Stafford said. “I’m feeling stronger every time I come out here and throw. I don’t know if you guys were watching, I felt like I could make any throw I wanted to today. I’m just trying to be smart when I get those opportunities to make sure I can come out here, cut it loose, turn it loose like I did today and go from there.”

He said that, one Saturday, his arm “felt fine . . . felt good.”

Stafford isn’t getting caught up in labels, incluing whether it’s a baseball injury.

“I don’t know if it’s a baseball or a football injury,” Stafford said. “I currently play football and it’s on a football player so I guess it’s a football injury at this point. I’m not really too worried about what it’s called or whether it’s abnormal or not, or whatever. I’m worried about here today. How did I feel? Let’s continue to progress and get better.”

Stafford otherwise said all the right and predictable things. He has always had a level of toughness and grit. It’s admirable. And it makes him not inclined to admit that anything may be wrong.

That said, he got surprisingly candid when asked whether the injury relates to the longevity of his career, which stretches back to 2009.

“I’m not going to get too granular into how we got to this point,” Stafford said. “I don’t think that is the sole cause of it, but I’m sure it contributes to it. Anytime you put an arm through as much stress as I have over the years, it’s not going to look like your elbow, I’m sure. It’s not one of those things that . . . the more I throw the worse it’s going to get. It’s kind of just a balancing act at this point.”

The Rams have struck the balance by keeping him out of team drills, while letting him throw in individual drills. Whether that balance works once the season starts remains to be seen.