Chargers limit Justin Herbert’s practice, injury update

Justin Herbert’s last pass Thursday was a 7-yard touchdown shot at Joshua Palmer.

That was his last throw that any outsider witnessed Wednesday after the media-open portion of Chargers practice.

Herbert stretched and warmed up a bit but otherwise limited his participation to handoffs as he deals with a fractured rib cartilage he sustained against Kansas City on Thursday.

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

Coach Brandon Staley said Herbert did “light throwing” and “rotation work” at the team’s practice facility on Tuesday. Staley continued to call Herbert “day to day” as the Chargers were 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 do it,” Staley said. “That’s the big thing, just that he has the confidence to play the game the way it needs to be played.

“It will decide over the week leading up to the game because when I say it’s ‘day by day’ it’s just how he’s feeling. That could go until Sunday.”

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

After injuring himself, he led the Chargers to a nine-game, 73-yard scoring drive in the series. Herbert was clearly uneasy in the final five minutes of the game but missed just one play.

Staley said the Chargers would be relying heavily on Herbert to make a final decision on his Sunday availability.

“We’re going to listen to Justin, #1,” Staley said. “The player comes first in every decision we make here since I’ve been head coach. … I think that’s where the modern NFL is at …

“We’re going to 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.”

No matter what happens this weekend, Herbert will likely struggle with pain in his left chest area for some time to come.

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

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

Chargers quarterbacks Justin Herbert (10) and Chase Daniel (7) work on drills.

Should Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) be out due to his injury, Chase Daniels (7) will start in his place Sunday against Jacksonville.

(Associated Press)

If Herbert can’t play the Jaguars, the Chargers’ two quarterbacks would be Chase Daniel and Easton Stick. Daniel has been Herbert’s backup since the start of last season.

At the age of 13, Daniel has five career starts, most recently in 2019 with Chicago. Stick has only appeared in one game — for two snaps — since the Chargers drafted him in the fifth round in 2019.

Since the start of the 2006 season, the Chargers have only started three players as 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 by Taylor against one of the Chargers’ team doctors became public knowledge.

David Gazzaniga is being sued by Taylor because a pregame injection — intended to help the quarterback deal with the pain of two broken ribs — instead resulted in Taylor suffering a punctured lung.

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

Asked if he had “concerns” about Herbert’s treatment given the lawsuit, Staley said: “Any player that goes through something like this… that’s your biggest responsibility as a coach to look after your players.

“I think we have full coordination with Justin, his family, his agents and then the medical professionals. That’s what we’re going to try to do, is have alignment that way and just trust the process and hopefully make it healthy again soon.

The Chargers listed Herbert as a limited practice participant, and he wasn’t alone as they struggled with a handful of significant injuries.

Two Pro Bowlers — center Corey Linsley (knee) and cornerback JC Jackson (ankle) — did not practice Wednesday. Linsley missed the second half against the Chiefs. Jackson made his season debut in Kansas City after sitting out the Chargers’ opener.
Pro Bowl wide receivers Keenan Allen (hamstring) and Trey Pipkins III (ankle) with right tackle were ruled limited at practice. Allen was injured in Week 1 and Pipkins was injured in the third quarter on Thursday.

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

Choose Brandon Staley

Staley said, “I’m responsible for what happened in this game,” taking the blame for Herbert’s fourth-quarter interception that turned into a 99-yard touchdown in Kansas City on Thursday.

Gerald Everett was Herbert’s intended target near the goal line while the Chargers attempted to break a 17-17 tie. But the veteran tight end, who had just attempted to pull himself out of the game, made no move for the ball.

Everett later explained that he was trying to leave the field because he was experiencing ankle pain from an injury he sustained in the Chargers opener. But as the offensive picked up pace, Everett couldn’t get off.

He had been catching passes in the last two games as the Chargers went to the Chiefs three-yard line before Jaylen Watson picked up Herbert and rushed for 99 yards to make the game.

“I saw Gerald,” Staley said. “We felt we could contain him and set the pace. It was kind of a simple play, a simple professional responsibility. Looking back, it’s certainly one I’ll learn from as a coach. Operationally, we assume full responsibility. I think we can all learn from that, but I most of all.” Chargers limit Justin Herbert’s practice, injury update

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