Rams put TE McMichael on IR with broken leg, torn ligament

ST. LOUIS -- As if an 0-4 start wasn't bad enough, things got worse for the St. Louis Rams on Monday: Tight end Randy McMichael will be lost for the season with a broken right leg.

McMichael broke his tibia and tore a ligament in his leg in the Rams' 31-14 loss to Buffalo on Sept. 28. On Monday, the team put him on injured reserve, ending his 2008 season.

"He is a guy that is another playmaker on our football team," said Jim Haslett, who became interim coach a day after the Buffalo loss, when Scott Linehan was fired. "It's a shame. He's a good kid. He worked hard. He's one of our better blockers, and he's a guy who can run and go catch it, so obviously not having him is going to hurt us."

Third-year player Joe Klopfenstein will start beginning with Sunday's game at Washington (4-1). Klopfenstein started as a rookie in 2006 before the Rams signed McMichael as a free agent.

The Rams expected big things of McMichael in 2008 after what essentially amounted to a lost season in 2007. Because of the many injuries to the offensive line, McMichael often found himself as a glorified third tackle as he stayed in to block instead of catching passes.

After finishing with a career-low 39 catches in 2007, McMichael led the Rams in receiving in the first week against Philadelphia and had 11 catches for 139 yards in four games.