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Quinn, McDonald Headed to IR

Posted Dec 9, 2015

Head coach Jeff Fisher announced after Wednesday's practice DE Robert Quinn (back) and S T.J. Donald (shoulder) will each undergo season-ending surgery.

Like most teams around the league, the Rams have suffered their share of injuries throughout the season. Unfortunately for the club, now two more key defensive starters will be heading to injured reserve.

Head coach Jeff Fisher announced after Wednesday’s practice defensive end Robert Quinn and safety T.J. McDonald will both undergo season-ending surgeries.

“In all likelihood, either today or tomorrow, we will be placing Rob Quinn on IR for the remainder of the season with a back [injury]. He’s going to require season-ending surgery,” Fisher said. “That will also be the case for T.J. [McDonald], who requires season-ending shoulder surgery. So, unfortunately, we lost two really good defensive players.”

Quinn has been battling multiple injuries throughout the season, and had been inactive for four of the last five games. The contest in which he did participate, against the Bears on Nov. 15, Quinn did not start and played only a limited number of snaps.

“We’re being aggressive with this so that he can come back at 100 percent,” Fisher said. “Our concern is his future and we need to go ahead and move forward with it so he can come back. It’s a 10-to-12-week rehab, and he’ll come back at 100 percent.”

“I know his back has been hurting for quite a bit. And he really wanted to wait a long time, hoping it would come back to be able to put it off,” linebacker James Laurinaitis said. “He wouldn’t have been 100 percent anyway, no matter how well his back felt. He wouldn’t have gotten back to 100 percent without surgery.”

Though he started just seven games this season, Quinn is still currently second on the team with 5.0 sacks. He’s also tied with Mark Barron for the team lead with three forced fumbles. As Fisher put it, the entire unit has missed Quinn’s presence because it changes the way teams attack the Rams.

“When you talk about offenses are going to game plan around his presence, and they’re concerned about where he is and what he’s doing, it allows you, to a certain extent, to dictate defensively,” Fisher said. “That’s also the case with Alec [Ogletree]. Alec -- there’s no telling where we’d be had we had a healthy Ogletree. So, yes, we’ve missed him and it’s affected the rest of the guys.”

McDonald had also been battling a few injuries throughout 2015, and as Fisher put it, going on IR now is the best thing for his future.

“He’s been dealing with a few things, but the shoulder subluxed, and we’ve got some things we’ve got to get fixed,” Fisher said. “He’ll come back 100 percent, but it’s not fair to ask him to play under the circumstances.”

“T.J.’s been practicing for a while with, really, multiple things ailing him. To where, heck, it’s hard to even watch him walk sometimes, and yet he’s out here trying to practice,” Laurinaitis said. “For one, I think it shows you how much they care and how passionate they are about the game, and how much belief and effort they put into the day-to-day stuff throughout the week.”

While the Rams will certainly miss both Quinn and McDonald’s production, they will rally around those who will step in. Fisher specifically mentioned safety Maurice Alexander and defensive lineman Ethan Westbrooks as two who will get an opportunity to play.

“T.J.’s a great guy, great player, great competitor,” fellow safety Rodney McLeod said. “He’s made a lot of plays in this defense the past few years, so we’re definitely going to miss him in many different ways, honestly. But ‘next man up’ rule on defense, and Mo Alexander is up for the challenge. Other guys as well.”

And so as the Rams move forward to the last quarter of the season, the defensive standard will not change without Quinn and McDonald.

“We don’t use it as an excuse,” Laurinaitis said. “We do miss them, but I think you can miss your guys and know that you’d be better with them, but you can’t drop your expectations defensively.”

“It’s the unfortunate part of the game,” Fisher said. “We lost two really good defensive players for the rest of the season. But we’ll move on.”