San Diego Chargers: Center Nick Hardwick Looking Bleak For Playoff Game

By Erwin Mendoza
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Injuries are inevitable in every NFL locker room, but when there are only eight teams left playing in January, their effect becomes magnified. During last week’s game at Cincinnati, both San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews and center Nick Hardwick suffered injuries.

Right now, the attention is paid to Mathews as he is integral to the offensive game plan for the Denver Broncos. It’s traditional playoff football, essentially Martyball done effectively.

However, the availability of Hardwick is as important to the entire offense.

Hardwick left during last week’s game with what was called a stinger by the Chargers’ coaching staff. To everyone else watching it was a concussion. A spade is a spade, am I right?

Hardwick did not practice Thursday, as he is yet to pass the NFL’s concussion protocol.

The protocol is essentially a four-step process that requires a neuropsychological test, a light exercise challenge, clearance from the team physician, and an independent neurological consultant, and the player must return to normal, baseline levels of functions to be finally cleared by the NFL to play. He needs to be cleared for practice before he can strap up. So with that process, it’s looking bleak for Hardwick to play on Sunday.

Rich Ohrnberger played in place of Hardwick at Cincy, but the Ohrnberger had issues with the line calls. So, LG Chad Rinehart had to make those calls instead.

No roster moves have been made, so it’s looking like the Chargers are hoping for the best and trusting in Ohrnberger to get it done.

Erwin Mendoza is a San Diego Chargers writer for Follow him on Twitter @erwinsports, or add him to your network on Google.

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