Heading into the season, every starter along the San Diego Chargers’ offensive line, except Nick Hardwick, was a huge question mark. Now, everyone, including Hardwick, is dealing with an injury, making their availabilities up in the air against the Dallas Cowboys.
Left tackle King Dunlap (concussion) and left guard Chad Rinehart (foot) were both injured in Sunday’s loss to the Tennessee Titans and did not return to the game. Their absences, as well as the absence of right tackle D.J. Fluker, who missed the game due to a concussion suffered in practice days before, forced the Chargers to completely reshuffle their offensive line midgame. The lack of confidence in the patchwork o-line made the Chargers conservative on offense, which was just one of the reasons San Diego blew yet another fourth-quarter lead.
After the game, it was revealed the right guard Jeromey Clary also suffered an injury. Clary played through a clavicle injury, in part because there was no one left to come in, as the Chargers ran out of backup offensive linemen.
Dunlap, Rinehart and Clary all missed practice on Wednesday, while even Hardwick was a limited participant due to a shin injury, but should be able to play Sunday.
Also likely able to play is Fluker, who missed last Sunday’s game due to a concussion but returned to practice Wednesday. However, concussion symptoms can linger, making Fluker’s return no guarantee.
San Diego’s offensive line has been the biggest surprise so far this season. After allowing 49 sacks of Philip Rivers last season, this year’s offensive line has only allowing five sacks through three games. However, with all the injuries piling up, one has to wonder if the offensive line still has the ability to keep Rivers upright.