The season has not begun and the Rams already know they could struggle the first four games — if not longer.
On Saturday, the Rams placed star receiver Cooper Kupp on injured reserve because of a hamstring injury, a major blow for a team set to open its season Sunday at Seattle.
Coach Sean McVay announced this week that Kupp would not be available to play against the Seahawks, but the injured reserve designation requires the 2021 offensive player of the year to sit out at least four games.
In addition to the opener, Kupp will be sidelined against the San Francisco 49ers, Cincinnati Bengals and Indianapolis Colts. He would be able to return for the Oct. 8 game against the Philadelphia Eagles at SoFi Stadium.
Kupp has not practiced since last week because of what McVay described as a muscle strain. He traveled to Minnesota last weekend for an evaluation by soft-tissue specialists.
Kupp, 30, has come back from several injuries during his career.
In 2018, he missed the Rams’ run to Super Bowl VIII because of a season-ending knee injury. In 2020, he suffered another knee injury that forced him to sit out an NFC divisional-round defeat to the Green Bay Packers.
Kupp sat out the final eight games of the Rams’ 5-12 season last year. He did not participate in the offseason workout program — which is voluntary — so he could be with family as they expected a third child.
Tight end Hunter Long (thigh) also was placed on injured reserve.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.