St. Louis Rams DE Robert Quinn, SS Tim McDonald, Jr. to Undergo Season-Ending Surgeries


The St. Louis Rams lose two more starters for the year due to surgeries.

As if there hadn’t already been enough frustrating developments to drive the St. Louis Rams’ 2015 season into the ground over the past five weeks, the team announced more bad news on Wednesday. Defensive end Robert Quinn, a two-time reigning Pro Bowler, will be placed on injured reserve and undergo season-ending back surgery, while strong safety Tim McDonald, Jr. will also miss the rest of the season while undergoing shoulder surgery.

The announcement officially brings an end to a lost season for Quinn, who is one of the NFL’s premier pass rushers when healthy. Unfortunately, that was not the case for most of 2015, as Quinn played in just eight of the Rams’ 12 games, being limited to third-down rushing specialist duties for the most recent of those contests. Quinn dealt with a knee injury earlier in the season, which caused him to miss a game–the Rams’ November 8 meeting with the Minnesota Vikings–for the first time since the 2011 season. Though he returned for one week to play against the Chicago Bears on November 15, a game in which he participated in just 14 plays, Quinn has been sidelined since with a back issue.

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It’s unknown how serious the injury is, but it’s never good news to hear about an NFL player undergoing back surgery, especially when he relies on his back so heavily for creating momentum to manipulate the 300-plus-pound bodies of offensive tackles. The Rams gave Quinn just over $41 million guaranteed on a contract extension that doesn’t actually kick in until next season, so we’ll see if his deal ends up being the latest failure in a long line of unsuccessful big-money Rams contracts.

The injury bug also prematurely ends a frustrating season for McDonald, who looked to be an emergent Pro Bowl-quality safety following a breakout 2014 campaign. After collecting 105 tackles, the most stops for a Rams safety in a single season since Adam Archuleta‘s 116 in 2002, McDonald was primed to have an even better 2015. Unfortunately, he dealt with a foot injury that limited him for several weeks during the middle of the season and even caused him to miss the game against Minnesota, and he suffered a shoulder injury on Sunday against Arizona that will now end his 2015 campaign.

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Quinn and McDonald join cornerback E.J. Gaines (foot), linebacker Alec Ogletree (ankle), offensive guards Rodger Saffold (shoulder) and Jamon Brown (ankle), as well as part-time starting receiver Stedman Bailey (surgery to repair gunshot wounds), as Rams starters who have had their seasons ended by significant surgeries this year.

Quinn has already missed the past three weeks, so the Rams will just continue to operate with the defensive end rotation of Chris Long, William Hayes, Eugene Sims, and Matt Longacre that they’ve been using. McDonald is expected to be replaced by Maurice Alexander, who started in place of him earlier this year against the Vikings and has been worked in through several special packages in the past few weeks. Backups Cody Davis and Christian Bryant could also get some work from scrimmage with McDonald out of the picture.

It’s extremely likely that at least one of the open roster spaces will be used for the Rams to add a cornerback, as they may be down to just two healthy corners (Marcus Roberson and Lamarcus Joyner) this week with starters Trumaine Johnson and Janoris Jenkins sidelined. That could be a veteran like Cary Williams, who the St. Louis Post-Dispatch‘s Jim Thomas has reported the Rams have interest in, or practice squad member Eric Patterson.

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It also seems probable that the Rams could add one of their practice squad defensive linemen–defensive tackles Louis Trinca-Pasat and Doug Worthington and defensive end Zack Hodges–though offensive guard David Arkin would also be an intriguing candidate due to his ability to add flexibility up front.