ST. LOUIS -- The margin for error was slim enough for the rebuilding St. Louis Rams entering the season without factoring in significant injuries.
Now, the task of returning the franchise to respectability has gotten much tougher for first-year coach Steve Spagnuolo.
Quarterback Marc Bulger has a bruised rotator cuff on his throwing shoulder that probably will sideline him a few weeks, but that was the good news on Monday's injury report. Much more significant: leading wide receiver Laurent Robinson is out for the season with multiple injuries to his right leg and safety James Butler might miss a month with a sprained left knee.
Also, linebacker David Vobora has a concussion that will be evaluated on Tuesday.
"That's OK, this business is all about challenges," Spagnuolo said. "I'm very fortunate to have a coaching staff and a bunch of players who are built on character, who are good people, who believe in what we are doing and are sticking together."
Consistently, Spagnuolo stresses that the 2009 Rams have nothing to do with the previous two seasons when St. Louis went 5-27 and twice landed the second pick of the draft. He wants them to concentrate on Sunday's game at San Francisco.
"Anything and everything that we want to accomplish this year is still in front of us," Spagnuolo said. "It's way early. There's 13 weeks minimum left this season.
"Having said that, we're going to concentrate on only one week this one and that's San Francisco."
Whether Bulger or backup Kyle Boller starts, they'll have one fewer option in a wide receiver corps that was thin before Robinson was hurt in the second quarter of Sunday's 36-17 loss to the Packers. Robinson, who has 13 catches with a 12.8-yard average and one touchdown, will need surgery for a high right ankle sprain and fractured right fibula.
"It's sad because the guy's really worked hard," Boller said. "The injury stinks, but guys just have to step up."
Bulger was injured on a sack that caused a fumble in the first quarter. For now, Spagnuolo said Bulger was a "day to day," adding the team would have a better grasp on the injury when the Rams return to practice Wednesday.
"I know one thing about Marc Bulger, if there is a way for him to go and fight through pain, he'll do that," Spagnuolo said. "I don't want to speak for him, but I know he's very sore and we're going to be careful with it."
Boller would be making his first start since Dec. 16, 2007, with the Baltimore Ravens. He was inactive the last two games of the '07 season and missed all last year with a shoulder injury before signing a free agent deal with St. Louis in April.
"We'll see how it goes," Boller said. "I'll be prepared just like I am every week."
Boller threw two touchdown passes to Daniel Fells in the second quarter, rallying the Rams from an early 16-0 deficit. Robinson had two catches for 26 yards before getting hurt in the second quarter and St. Louis, which has been thin at wide receiver, had trouble moving the ball the rest of the game.
Danny Amendola, signed off the Eagles' practice squad as a return man last week, played in some three wide-receiver sets.
Boller was 8 for 13 for 100 yards in the first half, and 8 for 18 for 64 yards thereafter.
"All of a sudden you're starting to have injuries, and it was on both sides of the ball," Spagnuolo said. "You've got guys in there that haven't had a lot of reps. It got things out of sync a little bit."
Spagnuolo said rookie offensive tackle Jason Smith, who missed the Packers game with a sprained left knee, would be questionable for this week.