Rams linebacker needs pectoral surgery

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One of the dangers of having a talented and top-heavy roster is that it forces young players into contributing roles to balance the books.

So when those young players get hurt, things can get weird.

According to Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com, Rams linebacker Micah Kiser will have surgery Tuesday to repair a pectoral injury suffered in Saturday’s preseason game against the Cowboys. His timeline for a return was not specified.

Their 2018 fifth-round pick was projected to start at inside linebacker next to Cory Littleton, despite not playing a single snap of defense last year. Because of that inexperience, he was one of the few Rams starters to play in the preseason. They left about 20 starters in Los Angeles, depriving them of the quick trip to Hawaii (and the risk of injury).

“The reason that we thought it was important for those guys to play is because they are still younger guys that haven’t had the accumulation of work,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “Unfortunately, whether it is in preseason games or regular season, even in practice, sometimes these injuries are inevitable and you can’t always avoid it.”

Fifth-year linebacker Bryce Hager (who played 53 snaps of defense last year) is now a projected starter, backed up by second-year pro Travin Howard, and rookies Dakota Allen Natrez Patrick.