A bit of “good’’ news from Rams Park on Friday — not a lot of that lately — as the lower-leg fracture suffered by rookie safety T.J. McDonald will not require surgery and is not a season-ending injury.

McDonald , a third-round draft choice in April, was placed on the injured reserve-designated to return list Friday, which means he’ll miss at least eight weeks (six plus two weeks of practice) before returning to action.

“It times up with the doctor’s estimation of when he’ll be back, so it’s not season-ending; that was, in a lot of ways, good news for us,’’ Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said at the start of his Friday meeting with reporters in Earth City. “There’s one move per club per season; it’s a new rule ... for two years now.’’

McDonald, a 6-foot-2, 217-pounder from Southern California, is fifth on the team with 18 tackles.

“He was playing well,’’ Fisher said. “In addition to things defensively, he was close to blocking punts and he was playing well for us on special teams.’’

Cody Davis, a rookie free agent from Texas Tech, was promoted from the practice squad to take McDonald’s spot on the roster, with veterans Darian Stewart and Matt Giordano to vie for the spot opposite Rodney McLeod in the defensive backfield.

“Stew’s healthy — he’ll get a chance,” Fisher said. “Gio’s going to get a chance and we’ll have to make some adjustments in the secondary as we start deploying our different packages, our nickel packages and things. But again, we’re fortunate to have a couple of days.’’

The Rams return to action Oct. 6 against Jacksonville at the Edward Jones Dome.

Fisher added that a pair of veterans, cornerback Cortland Finnegan and linebacker Will Witherspoon, will be slowed with hamstring injuries suffered against San Francisco.

“They’re not serious, but they’ll be day to day as we get closer to our next game against the Jaguars,’’ the coach said.


With time winding down in the opening half Thursday night, San Francisco’s Kyle Williams called for a fair catch near midfield.

With four seconds to play, the 49ers tried a rare fair catch kick. Lining up with the Rams 10 yards away, the 71-yard kick from San Francisco’s Phil Dawson fell short and to the left as time expired.

It was the first such attempt in the NFL since December 2008, when Green Bay’s Mason Crosby missed a 69-yarder against the Detroit Lions.

“I saw it coming and told (punter) John (Hekker) to punt the ball out of bounds, (but) and the ball didn’t turn over... it came back into the field of play,’’ Fisher said. “We were fortunate (Dawson) missed it.’’

Fisher recalled trying a fair catch kick in 2005 when he was coaching the Tennessee Titans. In that instance, the Titans’ Rob Bironas missed a 58-yarder against the Houston Texans.

The coach pointed out that fair catch kicks are rarely tried because a missed kick is returned to the spot of the kick. But with just four seconds to play — the clock starts when the ball is kicked — it was basically a no-lose attempt for the 49ers.

However, if there had been another second or two on the clock, the Rams may have been able to come up with a big play to close out the half.

“That’s why we sent AP (Austin Pettis) back there. We had a plan,’’ Fisher explained, noting that the Rams were going to try a throw-back pass.

“It’s evident on tape that we were a second or two away,’’ the coach said. “It was originally designed to go back to Cort (Finnegan), but when Cort went down, Gio (Giordano) took that spot. Gio was wide open on the back side and we had a wall (of blockers).

“We had an answer to it, but it didn’t work out for us.’’


After meetings Friday, the Rams’ players will take the weekend off.

“They’ll get some much-needed rest, it’s a break a lot like a bye week,’’ the coach said. “They finished up strong in their meetings and they’re excited to get away and to come back and prepare for our next opponent.’’

The Jaguars, off to an 0-3 start, host the Indianapolis Colts (2-1) on Sunday.

• Linebacker James Laurinaitis led the Rams defensively with 12 combined tackles, including two for loss, and a pair of pass defenses. Rookie linebacker Alec Ogletree had nine total tackles and also forced a fumble in the loss.

• Hekker, the Rams’ punter, averaged 44.5 yards on 11 punts. His net average was 42.7.

• The Cowboys’ Dez Bryant was fined $7,875 by the NFL for making a throat-slash gesture after scoring the first touchdown in Dallas’ 31-7 over the Rams on Sept. 22. Bryant was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct on the play.

Joe is a St. Louis Post-Dispatch sportswriter.

Joe Lyons is a Rams reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.