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Injuries Don’t Have to Define the Chargers’ Season

It’s only Week 4, but injuries have already ravaged the Los Angeles Chargers. Can they recover in time to pick up the pieces?

The Los Angeles Chargers needed a jolt when the Philip Rivers era ended after the 2019 season. That’s exactly what they got when, the next year, No. 6 overall pick Justin Herbert stepped in and won Offensive Rookie of the Year and transformed the organization from bottom-feeders to Super Bowl contenders.

That’s where we are today. Or, that’s where the franchise thought it would be in the preseason.

Sure it’s only Week 4, but injuries to star players — including, most recently, Joey Bosa — have derailed any momentum the Chargers might have had after beating the Raiders to open the season.

“It’s part of the NFL. It’s an attrition league and you have to be ready for it,” Chargers coach Brandon Staley said. “What you have to do is weather the storm and stay together. Then, make sure the guys are coming back as quickly as they can.”

So, they caught the injury bug early. Are they finished? Not quite. There’s still 14 games left, they play the lowly Texans (0-2-1) this Sunday, and have the sixth-easiest remaining schedule by opponent’s win percentage (.476).

But these are the wins they absolutely need in order to stay afloat before it’s too late, especially in a tough AFC West.

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Key Chargers Injuries

Salary figures via Spotrac.

Justin Herbert: The QB suffered fractured rib cartilage in a Week 2 loss to the Chiefs and needed a pain-killing injection to play in Week 3. He finished 25-for-47 with one TD and one interception in a loss against the Jaguars. As of Thursday, he’s questionable for the Texans game.

  • Contract: 4 years, $26,578,755
  • Average annual value: $6,644,689

Joey Bosa: The four-time Pro Bowl pass rusher is out indefinitely due to a groin injury he suffered in the first quarter of L.A.’s loss to Jacksonville. He’ll undergo surgery, but the team believes he’ll be able to return this season.

  • Contract: 5 years, $135 million (second-highest among edge rushers)
  • Average annual value: $27 million

Keenan Allen: The five-time Pro Bowl WR missed two consecutive games after suffering a hamstring injury in Week 1. He’s questionable at a position where the Chargers are already thin. Jaylen Guyton suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in Sunday’s loss, leaving Mike Williams, Joshua Palmer, and DeAndre Carter as the only healthy receivers left.

  • Contract: 4 years, $80.1 million
  • Average annual value: $20.03 million

Rashawn Slater: The Pro Bowl left tackle is integral in protecting Herbert, but he suffered a torn left bicep tendon against the Jags and will miss the remainder of the season.

  • Contract: 4 years, $16.63 million
  • Average annual value: $4.15 million

J.C. Jackson: The Pro Bowl cornerback and 2018 Super Bowl champ has been a bit of a mystery since signing with the Chargers this offseason. He underwent ankle surgery in late August and played in Week 1, missed Week 2, and then played in Week 3. His status for Week 4 is undetermined due to inflammation.

  • Contract: 5 years, $82.5 million
  • Average annual value: $16.5 million

These five players have racked up a total of 12 Pro Bowl appearances and 30.81% of the team’s cap percentage. The good news? Four of the five are expected to play at some point. It’s just a matter of when.

And if our analysis isn’t enough, at least Vegas still thinks highly of them…

Chargers (-5.5) at Texans, 1 p.m. ET

All odds via FanDuel Sportsbook

  • Week 4 Moneyline: (-235)
  • Point total: Over 44.5 (-106) | Under (-114)

Future Odds

  • Win AFC West: (+400)
  • Win Super Bowl: (+2100)
  • Win Total: Over 9.5 (+115) | Under (-135)
  • Make Playoffs: Yes (+102) | No (-116)

As some Chargers fans might say…

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