"I'm going to go find a place to cry," La Russa said.
Pujols will be out an estimated six weeks with a fractured left wrist from a first-base collision Sunday. Baseball will be without a three-time NL MVP, and the Cardinals, tied for first in the NL Central, are left to absorb another devastating blow in a season marred by injuries.
"You can't replace a player of his magnitude," general manager John Mozeliak said. "It just seems like we've had to deal with one injury after another.
"We still have to find ways to win games, and that's what we'll do."
The team announced the results of an MRI and CT scan Monday, one day after Pujols was injured during a home game against Kansas City. The injury is a nondisplaced fracture of the left radius bone, and his arm is in a splint.
Mozeliak said he hoped to have Pujols back by the beginning of August, and the team expects no lingering effects from what the general manager described as a small fracture. Mozeliak said there was no structural damage to Pujols' left shoulder.
Though his .279 average is 50 points below his career numbers, Pujols was starting to heat up after a slow start and went 3 for 3 with a homer in his last at-bat Sunday. He's among the league leaders with 17 homers and 45 RBI.
Pujols was hurt trying to make a tag after taking an off-line throw from second baseman Pete Kozma. The Royals' Wilson Betemit collided with his glove hand.
"He hit me on my wrist and my shoulder," Pujols said afterward. "He kind of jammed me back. It's the toughest play to make as a first baseman. It's a bang-bang play. I saw the replay a couple of times, but I didn't really want to look at it."
Mozeliak said he hadn't spoken with Pujols, who had been optimistic after the game that the injury wasn't serious.
"I was optimistic we were going to get better news," Mozeliak said. "I really was."
The 31-year-old Pujols is due to enter free agency this fall after rejecting a multiyear contract extension at the start of spring training. He will be placed on the 15-day disabled list for only the third time in his career.