Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers is in line to make his season debut in Week 18.
"I think you let him go. You know, he did a great job these last couple weeks," he said on The Coach McVay Show. "To say that he's not ready, I don't know that I'd be accurate. I think that he's ready. I think he probably would've been ready to go last week. But we're operating with the expectation and anticipation that Cam Akers is going to make his Rams debut in the  season after Achilles surgery this week. I think he's got a chance to be able to contribute. And this is a pretty cool story."
Akers, who was in line for a significant role in his second season, shredded his Achilles while working out over the summer. Under most circumstances, the running back wouldn't have touched the field after such an injury. But L.A. activated him from injured reserve on Dec. 25, opening a window for his return.
McVay underscored that while it's a "cool story," it's happened because of how Akers has battled rehab.
"Most importantly, it's because he's earned the right to come out and help us as a team," the coach said. "What a great reflection of his mental toughness. The way he attacked the rehab. ... Cam deserves a lot of credit."
McVay briefly flirted with Akers returning last week before admitting that Week 18 or the playoffs would make more sense.
Now the coach is firmly stating he expects Akers to dip his toe in the waters Sunday in a game against the Niners -- who the Rams were blown out by in Week 10.
Playing Akers in the season finale gives L.A. a chance to see how explosive he is coming off the injury. If he's slowed, the Rams know they'll lean on Sony Michel come the postseason. But if Akers is miraculously back to his former self, McVay just got a starting-caliber running back with fresh legs in January.
"This is a special guy who's a special player," McVay said. "And having him back will definitely give us a boost. What that workload looks like and how it works, I can't answer that quite yet. But I do expect him to contribute in some form or fashion on Sunday against the Niners."