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COSTA MESA, Calif. - The wildfires that have been burning around the Los Angeles area have already affected the Rams heading into their game Sunday against the Eagles.
The Rams, whose facility is in Thousand Oaks, canceled their practice Wednesday and instead conducted a walk-through in the gymnasium at nearby Cal Lutheran University.
Thousand Oaks is located in southeastern Ventura County, one of the areas affected by the fires.
"The air quality isn't quite what you'd like it to be to be able to go outside," Rams coach Sean McVay said.
"But fortunately, because we are right next to Cal Lutheran's campus, we were able to go over to their gym, have a good walk-through, kind of use both of their basketball gyms."
The Eagles are practicing this week at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, the home of the Major League Baseball team. The stadium is located about 80 miles southeast of Ventura County. That area has not been affected by the fires.
So far, neither team has heard from the NFL about the possibility of postponing the game, held at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. But some fires were about 20 miles away from the stadium, in Bel Air, in the hills outside the city.
The fires and smoke are such a concern that UCLA canceled its basketball game with Montana scheduled Wednesday night. One fire was about 5 miles from campus.
Eagles coach Doug Pederson said it was unsettling to hear that the Rams couldn't practice because of air quality, not to mention the thousands of people who have had to evacuate their homes in Ventura County.
"It is obviously a serious issue with what's going on, and our thoughts and prayers are obviously with the people that are affected," Pederson said. "I know the Rams were affected these last couple of days, and it makes it a little uncomforting and unsettling."
It's a big game for both teams. The Eagles (10-2) and Rams (9-3) are leading their divisions and are hoping to improve their playoff positioning heading into the final four games of the season.
McVay said he and the Rams are trying to make the best of the situation and that having a walk-through practice this late in the season isn't such a bad thing.
"That was kind of the approach we were going to take anyway," he said. "We just did it indoors, and we kind of kept the players off their feet more than we were accustomed to on a Wednesday.
"But being this late in the season, you do sometimes look into adjusting your practice plans to have a little bit more of an above-the-neck emphasis on a Wednesday. And that's what we did, and hopefully we'll be able to regain our normal practice schedule and get back out there (Thursday)."
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