"Legatron" has been shut down.
The Los Angeles Rams Super Bowl chances took a hit on Wednesday, as the team announced that Pro-Bowl kicker Greg "Legatron" Zuerlein, was being placed on injured reserve with a back injury, effectively ending his season.
According to Rams head coach Sean McVay, Zuerlein has been dealing with a herniated disc in his back throughout the season, but on Saturday night, while sleeping at the team hotel in Seattle, Zuerlein re-aggravated the injury and could barely get out of bed Sunday morning, let alone walk.
McVay was told about Zuerlein's condition before kickoff, and said that punter Johnny Hekker was prepared to be the emergency field goal kicker, with Cooper Kupp being the holder.
However, just hours before the game, Zuerlein said he would give it a go, and played injured during the team's 42-7 victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
The hope was that Zuerlein would be better by Monday or Tuesday, and the team had planned to sign another kicker, giving Zuerlein a week to rest, but doctors told the Pro-Bowler he would need to undergo surgery.
— Michael J. Duarte (@michaeljduarte) December 20, 2017
Rams COO Kevin Demoff told NBC LA that the team worked out 10 different kickers at the practice facility located on the campus of Cal Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, CA on Wednesday. One of those kickers was former Chargers kickers Younghoe Koo and Travis Coons, who was released by the Chargers on Monday.
The team announced late Wednesday afternoon that in place of Zuerlein, they signed former Penn State kicker Sam Ficken, despite the fact that he's never attempted a field goal in an NFL game.
Ficken went undrafted in 2015, but signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars before the 2016 season. He was waived before the season officially began, and signed by the Kansas City Chiefs before this season after an injury to Cairo Santos.
However, Santos recovered from his injury in time and Ficken was released by the Chiefs. He will now be the Rams primary kicker for the duration of the regular season and the postseason.
Zuerlein, was named to his first ever Pro Bowl on Tuesday, and was on a historic pace this season, converting 38 of 40 field goals on the season and 44 of 46 extra points.
UPDATE: Zuerlein will undergo back surgery performed by Robert Watkins on Thursday and is expected to be out until Training Camp in 2018.