THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Aaron Donald finally rejoined his Los Angeles Rams teammates on Monday, one day after their 46-9, season-opening drubbing of the Indianapolis Colts. Donald, who officially ended his 44-day holdout by taking his physical on Saturday, took part in conditioning drills and sat in on meetings, just like everybody else.
The Rams expect Donald to play in Sunday's home game against the Washington Redskins, though the extent "is going to be predicated on how he feels going out to practice and getting involved," head coach Sean McVay said while addressing the media late Monday afternoon.
"Just getting him back here is the first step," McVay added. "Definitely want to try to get him on the field."
The Rams are off on Tuesday and will practice in full on Wednesday, with Donald expected to participate.
McVay informed his players Saturday that Donald would join them at the start of the ensuing week. Donald chose not to attend Sunday's game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum because McVay said he didn't want to serve as a distraction to his teammates while they opened their season.
Donald didn't formally address the team on Monday. The Rams moved forward with their meetings as if he had been there all along.
"Didn't want to make a big deal about that," McVay said. "That's the one thing that I mentioned that you respect about Aaron is he wants to just come back here. He doesn't want to be a distraction at all. That's why he wasn't at the game yesterday.
"That's the first thing that he mentioned himself because he realized how important it was for us to kind of take a step in the right direction. That's what he wanted for his team, and that's what you like about Aaron: that he's all about football."
The Rams' front office and Donald's representatives at CAA have been going back and forth on a potential contract extension dating to the scouting combine in early March, but they have been unable to come to a resolution.
Donald still has two years left on his rookie contract, one that will pay him a combined base salary of less than $9 million. But the Rams at the very least seem open to making him the game's highest paid defensive player and are privately confident that something will be figured out.
The Rams waived Donald's holdout fines -- amounting to roughly $1.4 million -- and ensured that he would get his game check for the first week of the season by seeking an exemption that immediately placed him on the active roster.
"He's back here," McVay said, "and that's a step in the right direction."
The day before their last preseason game, on Aug. 30, a Rams front-office contingency that includes chief operating officer Kevin Demoff, general manager Les Snead and senior assistant Tony Pastoors flew to Atlanta to meet with Donald's representatives. McVay joined the group, as first reported by ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
He called it "a collective idea."
"It was more just trying to show how important this situation is to our football team," McVay said. "Let them know that while I'm not going to be involved in terms of the money and the negotiations, I just wanted them to be able to hear how important Aaron is for the overall dynamic, everything that we're trying to get done and accomplished and how much respect his teammates have for him. ... I hope that it was helpful as we continue to work through it."