ST. LOUIS—The Bears suffered yet another crippling injury in a season filled with them Monday when rookie left tackle Marc Colombo went down just before halftime with a dislocated left kneecap, an injury that could sideline him well into next season.
Colombo was blocking with his back to quarterback Chris Chandler, who was sacked by blitzing cornerback James Whitley, and Chandler and Whitley rolled onto the back of Colombo's left leg. Teammates hurried to Colombo's aid, with right tackle James "Big Cat" Williams holding Colombo's hand while the medical staff streamed onto the field.
Colombo was taken by cart to the locker room with his left leg in an inflatable cast and was replaced by former starter Bernard Robertson. Colombo had replaced Robertson as the starter after the Oct. 7 loss to the Green Bay Packers. He will undergo and MRI examination Tuesday.
Bears coach Dick Jauron said he didn't know if the injury would end Colombo's season.
"I'm going to remain optimistic," Jauron said. "It was better than I thought after I got out there [on the field]. It seems to be a kneecap problem, but those can be pretty serious."
After the game, Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Urlacher's right knee was wrapped and he was moving with difficulty.
The offense already had lost Pro Bowl alternate left guard Rex Tucker with a broken leg against Green Bay. Starting Pro Bowl center Olin Kreutz was inactive Monday after undergoing an appendectomy last Monday. Quarterback Jim Miller was relegated to backup status again Monday because of elbow tendinitis, and wide receiver David Terrell was placed on injured reserve last week with a fractured foot.
"We know we're going through a rash of injuries and just have to find a way to play over those," Jauron said.
Placing Terrell on injured reserve automatically ended his season. It may not have been meant as a concession speech by the Bears, but it was impossible not to take it as such.
"Possibly if we had a shot at the playoffs we'd probably leave David off the IR," said Miller, echoing sentiments from within the organization. "But something like that you're better off letting heal."
Terrell was hoping to return in early December but now will get an extended time to let his injury heal for next season. Although he had only nine catches, three were for touchdowns."I think [Terrell was] a very big loss because he was coming on strong, making some big plays," Miller said. "It got to the point where I was dropping back and if he wasn't in my reads, he was someone I was aware of on certain things.
"From last year to this year he progressed so well. He worked his fanny off, and it's so disappointing because I felt he was making a strong push."
The Bears' inactive list continued to be dictated by injuries, with Kreutz and defensive tackle Christian Peter (leg) not dressing for Monday's game, along with defensive tackle Ted Washington, running back Adrian Peterson, quarterback Cory Sauter and defensive end Bobby Setzer.
Bryan Robinson made his first start at Peter's tackle position, the spot where he played most of last week's game against the New England Patriots.
Paul Edinger's field goals of 37, 48 and 50 yards gave him 13 straight since missing a 58-yard attempt in Game 3.
This year's Bears entered Monday's game second-to-last in the NFL in time of possession, averaging 27.48 per game. But they won the possession battle with the Rams, controlling the ball 30:50 to 29:10.