Rams won’t have receiver Cooper Kupp on Sunday at San Francisco 49ers

Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp leaves Sunday’s game at Denver with a knee injury.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

The high-powered passing game that helped the Rams surge to a 6-0 start could go through a reshuffle in the next few weeks.

Starting receiver Cooper Kupp is not expected to play Sunday at San Francisco because of a left knee sprain suffered during the Rams’ victory at Denver, coach Sean McVay said Monday.

Despite losing the team leader in touchdown receptions, that qualified as “really fortunate news,” according to McVay.

“Thank goodness that it wasn’t something that looked like it could potentially be season ending,” he said at the team’s practice facility in Thousand Oaks.


Kupp plays the slot position in the Rams’ three-receiver set. In his absence, Robert Woods probably will move to Kupp’s spot, and second-year pro Josh Reynolds will fill Woods’ role, with Brandin Cooks as the deep threat.

Rookie KhaDarel Hodge would be the fourth receiver.

If Kupp’s injury lingers, the Rams could add another receiver, McVay said. Asked if they had someone in mind, McVay said it would probably be “somebody we have a history with.”

That presumably would rule out a high-profile receiver such as Dez Bryant.


Former USC receiver Steven Mitchell is on the practice squad.

Kupp, a second-year pro, is second on the team with 30 receptions, including five for touchdowns.

He suffered a concussion in Week 5 at Seattle, but started against the Broncos. Kupp was targeted once but he did not catch a pass. He carried the ball on a sweep in the second quarter and was injured when safety Darius Stewart took him to the ground with a horse-collar tackle.

“It was scary,” quarterback Jared Goff said after the game. “That is the reason to have the rules in place. That is the reason why the flag is called. We try to eliminate that exact tackle.”

Kupp played one series in the second half but sat out the rest of the game.

“It felt good enough, I thought, to give it a shot,” Kupp said after the game, “but I just wasn’t at 100%.”

Brown’s season debut

Jamon Brown, suspended the first two games for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, was happy to contribute to the 23-20 victory over the Broncos.


The fourth-year offensive lineman played for the first time this season after left guard Rodger Saffold suffered a knee sprain. Austin Blythe moved from right guard to left and Brown played on the right side, where he started last season.

“I stepped right in and felt like I did my role,” Brown said.

Teammates praised Brown for his performance.

“How fortunate we are to have a sixth man like Jamon,” center John Sullivan said, adding, “He has handled his new role better than anybody could possibly imagine.”

Saffold is expected to play against the 49ers, McVay said.


Defensive lineman Michael Brockers suffered a shoulder sprain but is expected to play against the 49ers, McVay said. Linebacker Matt Longacre, who left Sunday’s game because of back spasms, also should be available. … McVay said again that there’s “a chance” kicker Greg Zuerlein could return from a groin injury this week. Cairo Santos kicked what proved to be game-winning field goals in each of the last two games. “His production has been instrumental in getting those wins,” McVay said. … Linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, who was on the physically unable to perform list since the start of the season, will begin practicing this week. The Rams have 21 days to decide whether to add him to the roster.


Follow Gary Klein on Twitter @latimesklein