The Los Angeles Chargers are hoping to have Justin Herbert healthy in time for Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but after suffering fractured rib cartilage from a hard hit in last week’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs, head coach Brandon Staley says the call is Herbert’s to make.
“We’re going to listen to Justin, No.1,” Staley told reporters after Wednesday’s practice. “The player is at the front of all of the decisions that we make here, since I’ve become the head coach, to make sure that the players are at the front of all of the decision-making — their families, their agents, their team.”
“Then, making sure that we have alignment with the medical team. That’s been my position since I’ve become the head coach,” Staley continued. “I think that that is where the modern NFL is, in making sure that they are at the front of every decision that we make and that they have long careers ahead of them. We have to make sure that they are as safe and sound as possible.”
Herbert absorbed a massive hit from Chiefs defensive end Mike Danna in the fourth quarter of Thursday’s 27-24 loss. He missed just one play before returning to action. He returned to the practice field on Tuesday for some light throwing and did some drills with running backs the following day.
“Justin is day-to-day, I think he’s gotten a lot of rest since the last game,” Staley added. “But the nature of the week, it will truly be a case-by-case, day-by-day basis.
“I know he’s feeling more comfortable and was able to do some light throwing [Tuesday], some rotational work,” he continued. “We’re going to take it day-by-day and see where his comfort level is. Truly trust him, and let him be the guide of where we’re at.”
The third-year quarterback will wear a rib protector but could also receive an injection to deal with the pain, according to The Associated Press. The treatment is reminiscent of Tyrod Taylor’s rib injury in 2020, when his lung was punctured by a team doctor while receiving treatment before a game against the Chiefs.
If Herbert is not active for Sunday’s game, Staley said veteran backup quarterback Chase Daniel will be ready to step in.
“Chase has done this his whole career. We’ve had to do this before. Chase is going to be ready to play.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.