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O-Line Injury Woes Continue

Posted Dec 3, 2012

Before 2012 began, it would be unthinkable to suggest the amount of injuries that would be suffered by the offensive line over the course of the season.

Sunday, the unthinkable took on even greater meaning.

On Sunday,   the Chargers lost more than just a close game to the Bengals.  They lost starting right tackle Jeromey Clary to a knee injury, left guard Tyronne Green to a reaggravated hamstring, and left tackle Mike Harris to a high ankle sprain late in the third quarter.  That means over the course of 60 minutes, the team lost 60% of its offensive line.Today, head coach Norv Turner said he doesn’t expect any of those players to suit up for Week 14’s match against the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

“(It took) a real toll on our offensive line,” said Turner. “Jeromey Clary went out after two plays and I would not expect him to be able to play this week. Michael Harris has a high ankle sprain and played the last half of the third and fourth quarter with a high ankle sprain and fought through it extremely well. Tyronne Green has a hamstring (injury). It would be a stretch for those guys to be available on Sunday. We have some work to do in terms of the offensive line. Number one: we have to find where we are going to play the guys and number two: who those guys will be.”

Injuries have taken such an unexpected toll that as of his Monday press conference, the head coach was still in the midst of figuring out  how the team would address the banged up unit.  That’s especially true for the tackle position, where the only healthy player remaining is Kevin Haslam, who was signed off the practice squad nine days ago.

“That is the mystery,” Turner admitted. “That is one we are going to work on solving over the next few days…It is unusual to have the situation we have had in terms of the injuries. It has been my experience once you have that and then your backups end up playing and they play more than they are used to playing. You end up having other injuries as you go through. You are going to have some guys miss. We started the year feeling confident we had enough guys to cover for it. It has been unusual these past three weeks.”

Turner made a point to praise the job Rivers did in the game despite playing behind such a young and inexperienced unit, yet also conveyed that the injuries suffered by the offensive line have made it nearly impossible for the offense to perform up to their capabilities.

“With all of the things we had going on in the offensive line, I thought Philip fought it,” he said. “It is hard when you are playing quarterback and you have protection problems. It is hard when you don’t have that confidence and that feeling knowing when someone is going to come free. Despite that I thought he made a bunch of plays and obviously gave us a chance. I just don’t think we were capable of overcoming the circumstances on the offensive side.”

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