Wind is limiting Justin Herbert’s training and injury updates but pain is inevitable
Wind is limiting Justin Herbert’s training and injury updates but pain is inevitable

Wind is limiting Justin Herbert’s training and injury updates but pain is inevitable

Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert continued to throw the Kansas City Chiefs in the second half despite his rib cartilage injury. (Ed Zurga/Associated Press)

Justin Herbert’s final pass on Thursday was a 7-yard strike to Joshua Palmer.

That remained his last throw, which was seen by people outside the team on Wednesday after the Chargers practice area was open to the media.

Herbert stretched and warmed up a bit but otherwise limited his participation as he dealt with a broken rib he suffered in Kansas City on Thursday.

Only the first 20 minutes of the workout were available for media viewing.

Coach Brandon Staley said Herbert “threw easy” and did “rotational work” at the team’s practice facility on Tuesday. Staley continued to call Herbert “day-to-day” as the Chargers are scheduled to play Jacksonville at SoFi Stadium on Sunday.

“[We’re] “Just make sure Justin feels like he can do the job the way you know he can,” Staley said. “That’s the biggest thing, just having the confidence to play the game the way it needs to be played.

“It will decide the week before the game because when I say ‘day by day’ it’s just how he feels. That could go on until Sunday.”

Aside from protecting Herbert from further injury, the biggest factor in determining his condition will be Herbert’s ability to manage the pain.

After injuring himself, he led the Chargers on a nine-play, 73-yard scoring drive in the series. Herbert clearly struggled in the last 5 minutes of the game but missed one game.

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Staley said the Chargers will lean heavily on Herbert to make a final decision on his availability on Sunday.

“I’m going to listen to Justin, #1,” Staley said. “The player is at the forefront of every decision we make here since I was the head of it. … I think that’s where the modern NFL is at …

“We will start with him, and then he feels good about what the medical team thinks is best, he weighs the options, and then we make a good decision.”

Whatever happens this weekend, Herbert will likely be struggling with pain in his left rib area for some time to come.

Ilan Danan, a neurologist and pain management specialist at the Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute, said full recovery — based on the severity of the injury — can take anywhere from two weeks to two months.

“The focus and recovery period,” Danan explained, “really comes down to the level of pain and endurance.”

If Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) is out with an injury, Chase Daniels (7) will start in his place on Sunday against Jacksonville. (Associated Press)

If Herbert can’t play for the Jaguars, the Chargers’ two backs will be Chase Daniel and Easton Stick. Daniel has been Herbert’s reserve since the start of last season.

At the age of 13, Daniel started five jobs, the last one in 2019 in Chicago. Stick has appeared in just one game — twice — since the Chargers drafted him in the fifth round in 2019.

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Since the beginning of the 2006 season, the Chargers have only started three players at quarterback and one of them – Tyrod Taylor – has only started one game.

The uncertainty about Herbert comes the same week that a medical malpractice lawsuit filed against Taylor by one of the Chargers’ team doctors became public knowledge.

David Gazzaniga was sued by Taylor because a pre-match injection – intended to help the quarterback deal with two broken ribs – instead resulted in Taylor suffering a punctured lung.

When Taylor was unable to play in Week 2 of the 2020 season, Herbert replaced him minutes before kickoff and has been the Chargers’ starter ever since.

Asked if he was “concerned” with how Herbert was treated given the lawsuit, Staley said: “Any player who goes through something like this… that’s the biggest responsibility as a coach to protect your players.

“I think we have full cooperation with Justin, his family, his representatives and then the medical professionals. That’s what we’re going to try to do. let’s go soon.

The Chargers list Herbert as a limited contributor, and he wasn’t alone as they struggled with a handful of major injuries.

Two Pro Bowlers — center Corey Linsley (knee) and cornerback JC Jackson (ankle) — did not practice Wednesday. Linsley missed the second half. Jackson made his first season in Kansas City after sitting out the Chargers.

Pro Bowl wide receivers Keenan Allen (hamstring) and Trey Pipkins III (ankle) with right tackle were ruled limited in action. Allen was injured in Week 1 and Pipkins was injured in the third quarter on Thursday.

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Backup tight end Donald Parham Jr. (muscle) was also limited. He has yet to play this season.

Pick Brandon Staley

Staley said, “I’m responsible for what happened in this game,” blaming Herbert for a fourth-quarter 99-yard conversion at Kansas City on Thursday.

Gerald Everett was Herbert’s target near the goal line as the Chargers tried to break a 17-17 tie. But the legend who tried to take the game out did not make any movement with the ball.

Everett later explained that he was trying to get off the field because he was dealing with ankle pain from an injury he suffered in the Chargers opener. But as the attack progressed, Everett couldn’t get away.

He caught passes on the final two plays as the Chargers drove to the Chiefs’ three-yard line before Jaylen Watson picked off Herbert and ran 99 yards to make the game.

“I saw Gerald,” Staley said. “We felt we could control him and set the pace. It was kind of an easy game, an easy professional responsibility. Looking back, it’s definitely one we’ll learn from as a coach. Operationally, we take full responsibility. I think we can all learn from that, but me the most.”

This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.


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