Rams tight end Tyler Higbee and offensive lineman Joe Noteboom will not play in Super Bowl LVI after being put on injured reserve Friday, but running back Darrell Henderson and defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day will be available after coming off the list, the team announced.
Higbee — the Rams’ second-leading receiver in the regular season with 61 catches, five for touchdowns — suffered a knee injury during the Rams’ victory over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC championship game Jan. 30. Noteboom, who has played as an extra tight end in so-called heavy formations, suffered a chest muscle injury Jan. 23 in a divisional-round victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
During the run-up to the Super Bowl matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals, Rams coach Sean McVay said it was possible Higbee and Noteboom would be available for the game. But Higbee has not practiced and Noteboom was listed as limited this week.
“Those guys are big losses,” McVay said Friday during a news conference in Thousand Oaks. “They’ve been huge parts of how we got here.”
Kendall Blanton, who has performed well in the last two games, will start in place of Higbee. Alaric Jackson could play in place of Noteboom.
Blanton and Jackson are among the less-heralded players who have stepped up in the wake of injuries, including defensive lineman Greg Gaines and safety Nick Scott.
“I think it says so much about their approach, being ready for when their moment comes, and also the coaches’ ability to be able to develop the entirety of the roster,” McVay said, “and that’s why we’re in this position.”
Henderson has not played since suffering a knee injury Dec. 26 against the Minnesota Vikings.
Sony Michel started in his place during a five-game winning streak. After a return from an Achilles injury, Cam Akers started three playoff games.
“Darrell will play in this game,” McVay said.
Joseph-Day suffered a chest muscle injury against the Detroit Lions on Oct. 24.
Gaines has flourished in his place, but Joseph-Day’s return could provide additional depth.