Twenty minutes after the Los Angeles Chargers loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, quarterback Justin Herbert headed to the X-ray room with the help of the team’s medical staff, a look of discomfort on his face.
On Thursday night, with 5:09 remaining in the Chiefs’ 27-24 loss to the Cardinals, Herbert was knocked out for a while after taking a hit from Chiefs defensive end Mike Danna. He left for a single play and came back in the game despite being smashed by Chiefs pass rushers Frank Clark and George Karlaftis upon his return.
A Chargers representative said Herbert would not be made accessible to the media due to a rib ailment, and Herbert did not respond to requests for comment. Initial comments from Chargers head coach Brandon Staley downplayed any serious injuries, saying, “It was just a tough NFL game and he absorbed some huge blows.”
When asked if he had any worries about Herbert moving ahead, Staley responded, “No. Because he’s Justin Herbert.” However, Staley later stated the Chargers would likely find out more on Friday regarding the nature of Herbert’s injury.
Despite throwing for 334 yards and three scores, Herbert threw an interception that was returned 99 yards for a touchdown, giving the Chiefs their first lead of the night and energizing a packed crowd at Arrowhead Stadium.
With seven quarterback hits and two sacks, the Chiefs were able to bring down Herbert twice. Multiple players on the Charger’s offensive line were hurt Thursday night. Center At halftime, Corey Linsley left the game with a knee injury and right tackle Trey Pipkins went out with an ankle injury.
Staley added of Linsley, a nine-year veteran, and All-Pro, “I think Corey has a knee issue, I just talked to him, he sounded OK, but we’ll know tomorrow.” Staley claimed he was unaware of the extent of Pipkins’ wounds.
Linsley’s absence allowed backup Will Clapp to take over, and right tackle Storm Norton, who had lost his starting job to Pipkins in the preseason, was placed into the lineup. The Chargers record now sits at 1-1 overall and in the AFC West. In Week 3 at SoFi Stadium, they’ll be taking on the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Despite being guided by his third different head coach and learning his third different offensive scheme (as new head coach Mario Cristobal switched from the spread offense to the pistol strategy), Herbert entered his third collegiate season as an early Heisman Trophy candidate.
With Herbert at the helm, the Ducks went 9-4 and won the Redbox Bowl. He completed the season with 3,151 passing yards, 29 touchdown passes, and two rushing scores. In the Pac-12 Conference, he had the second-most touchdowns (31) behind only Washington State’s Gardner Minshew. The Pac-12 selected him for its All-Academic Team.
Herbert, who was expected to be a top draft pick, decided to return to Oregon for his final year. While playing for the Ducks, he scored three touchdowns in the Rose Bowl and was awarded the game’s Offensive MVP. The team finished the season with a 12-2 record. Herbert had his finest statistical college season with 3,471 passing yards, 32 passing touchdowns, and 4 rushing scores.
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