Alec Ogletree set for surgery on fractured ankle, Akeem Ayers next up

EARTH CITY, Mo. -- St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher confirmed Monday afternoon that linebacker Alec Ogletree will have surgery to repair his fractured right ankle. Ogletree's surgery is set for Tuesday.

After that procedure, Fisher and the Rams will choose between two options: injured reserve with the designation to return or regular injured reserve. In other words, the Rams will be without Ogletree for at least eight weeks and could very well lose him for the rest of the season.

"It looks as if we’re going to have a surgical procedure in the morning," Fisher said. "Once the procedure is done, I’ll have a better idea as to whether or not we will elect to use our IR designation. I’ll keep you informed as far as that goes tomorrow afternoon. He’s got a fracture. He’s got some things we’ve got to look at. He’s doing fine. He’s optimistic."

Ogletree suffered the injury in the third quarter of the Rams' 24-22 win against Arizona on Sunday afternoon. The injury happened when safety T.J. McDonald accidentally fell into the back of Ogletree's leg when diving to make a tackle. He left the game on a cart and did not return.

Fisher said he spoke to Ogletree on Monday morning and that the third-year linebacker was seemingly in good spirits. Ogletree attended team meetings Monday afternoon and Fisher said the expectation is that after the surgery Ogletree will stay around the team and look to offer advice to teammates where he can.

In the meantime, the Rams will turn to Akeem Ayers to take over for Ogletree as the weakside linebacker.

"We’ll move on, it’s that next guy up routine," Fisher said. "Someone has to step up. Akeem will step up for him. Glad we've got Akeem to handle that role. We’ll just adjust accordingly defensively."

The Rams signed Ayers as a free agent in the offseason with the idea of plugging him in as the strongside linebacker. Because the Rams have been in sub-packages so much in the first four weeks, Ayers hasn't had much of an opportunity to play. He's played 65 snaps and made four tackles so far this season.

Now, the Rams will ask the 6-foot-3, 255-pound Ayers to move to the weak side but will also use Daren Bates and safety Mark Barron as well, depending on the offensive personnel.

"Akeem goes in, in base," Fisher said. "He’s one of the three linebackers in base, so he just moves over. It’s not a problem. And Mark, we’re getting a lot of production out of Mark in the sub-packages. We’ll continue to do those things. We may entertain the possibility of using Mark on some earlier downs.”

Regardless of the designation, Ogletree's injury is going to open up a roster spot that the Rams will likely use to add depth at linebacker in his absence. One logical solution is veteran linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar, who the team released in the final round of cuts and remains available.