<
>

Alec Ogletree has fibula surgery, no decision from Rams on his season yet

By delaying a decision on Alec Ogletree the Rams gain some flexibility and buy some time to see how he improves. Norm Hall/Getty Images

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- St. Louis Rams linebacker Alec Ogletree entered a sort of injury limbo after undergoing surgery on his fractured right fibula Tuesday morning.

According to Rams coach Jeff Fisher, the surgery was a success. But after Fisher said earlier in the week that Ogletree would either land on injured reserve or injured reserve with the designation to return, Fisher opted for surprise door No. 3: none of the above.

"We have decided not to use the IR designation at this point," Fisher said. "So, he’ll be out, designated as a Sunday inactive and out. We’ll just kind of see how things go, and there’s a chance for a return. We’re just going to see how things go.”

Ogletree suffered the injury in last week's 24-22 win against the Arizona Cardinals. He was taken from the field on a cart and the early speculation was that he could miss the entire season.

But just because the Rams aren't placing him on any form of injured reserve right now should not necessarily be viewed as an indication he'll be back sooner than the eight weeks a player designated to return would. Or even that he'll return at all this season.

“It’s going to be longer than eight weeks, but there’s a chance for a return," Fisher said. "Right now, we use the roster spot."

In other words, Ogletree's injury is going to take quite awhile but keeping him from going on injured reserve with the designation to return right now buys the Rams time and flexibility moving forward without having to make a decision after eight weeks. The Rams play at Green Bay this week and then have their bye the following week.

By waiting a couple of weeks, the Rams could theoretically use the designated to return spot on Ogletree then and get him back eight weeks later after what would by then be a 10-week recovery. They also maintain the ability to get a better gauge on when or if Ogletree might return or, in a more unfortunate scenario, save the designated to return spot in case there's another serious injury.

"In the future, if we need to use the designated IR, designated for return, then we still have it available,” Fisher said.

It could also be an indication of where the Rams might believe they'll be at the end of the season. Which is to say that Ogletree might not be back before late in the season but if the team is in the playoff mix then, he could possibly return in time for postseason action.

From a roster perspective, the Rams re-signed linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar on Tuesday but didn't have to make a corresponding roster move because there was an opening after the weekend trade of receiver Chris Givens to Baltimore.

The Rams will still have a decision to make on the roster in the near future with running back Trey Watts returning from a four-game suspension. Watts is back with the team and on the practice field but has a one-week roster exemption before the Rams must choose whether to put him on the 53-man roster.

It's all but certain that Watts will return to the mix next week, which could land Ogletree on some form of injured reserve then or the Rams could go a different direction to create the roster spot. As for replacing Ogletree in the lineup, that job now falls to Akeem Ayers, who is switching from the strong side to the weak side.