It’s been a relatively downtrodden offseason for the San Diego Chargers when it comes to injuries. With Melvin Ingram lost to a torn ACL in May minicamps and Danario Alexander lost to the same injury early in training camp, the Bolts had to wondering when they would get a break. Well it appears the sun may finally be shining on this dark Chargers team… kind of.
The season opens on Monday night for the Chargers when they host the Houston Texans, and they may actually have some of their recently fallen players back in action. Both Corey Liuget and Eddie Royal have returned to the practice field after separate injury issues kept them out for a significant period of time. Liuget’s shoulder was injured in the second preseason game while Royal suffered a bruised lung and a concussion in practice.
The fact that these two have returned to practice suggests that they will likely be available for the Bolts in the opener which is certainly optimistic. With the aforementioned injury to Alexander, Royal has been bumped up the wide receiver ladder into the third wideout role. Word from camp has been positive on his development, and quarterback Philip Rivers is likely to target him early and often this season. As for Liuget, many feel he is going to have a breakout season in 2013 after a stellar showing a year ago. He is a vital presence on the San Diego defensive front with the ability to stand his ground and defend the run or penetrate and get to the quarterback when need be. Having these two on the field Week 1 will be a tremendous boost to a team in need of some good news.
Unfortunately that’s where the positives end for the Bolts as it looks like rookie linebacker Manti Te’o will not be available for the opener. His foot sprain issue has kept him in a walking boot for an extended period of time and he still hasn’t returned to practice. The team is preparing Bront Bird to make the start in his absence.
There’s no doubt the Chargers are going to need all hands on deck defensively against a dynamic Texans team in Week 1. Quarterback Matt Schaub has new aerial weapons to work with while running back Arian Foster is still more than capable of running through defenses with ease. Some of the inexperienced question marks in the secondary will get answered soon enough for the Chargers when they open the season with one of the NFL’s top offenses from a year ago.
Given the misfortune the team has had already this season, I suppose it could be seen as a positive that at least some of their guys are returning to the field. Sadly it looks like they won’t have everyone healthy for the opener which could get new head coach Mike McCoy’s tenure started on a sour note.