Derwin James had slim hopes he'd receive good news after suffering what was initially reported to be a broken foot in the Los Angeles Chargers' preseason opener against the Arizona Cardinals. After speaking with the team and specialists to determine if surgery would be required, those hopes of possibly returning any time soon are reportedly out the window. , as the injury and all options were discussed, a clear timetable has now been given.
The first-team All-Pro safety will opt to undergo surgery to repair a fractured bone in his foot, per Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, and he will miss approximately three-quarters of the regular season.
#Chargers S Derwin James will undergo surgery on his foot following evaluations of the stress fracture in his fifth metatarsal, sources say. He’s expected to be sidelined around three months. The surgery will be performed by noted foot and ankle specialist Robert Anderson.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) August 17, 2019
This would put James' potential return around Week 11, when the Chargers host the Kansas City Chiefs on Nov. 18. Currently, that is the best-case scenario, and the reality could end up being more grim.
This is a massive blow to a Los Angeles defense that is already dealing with several injuries, but even more so given the value of James to the success of the team. The former first-round pick burst out of the gates in his rookie 2018 season, landing honors as both an All-Pro, a Pro Bowler, and a member of the PFWA All-Rookie Team.
The 23-year-old has shown an ability to dominate at multiple positions as one of the best flex athletes in the NFL, and delivered 105 tackles, 13 pass deflections, 3.5 sacks and three interceptions last season. Replacing James won't be easy -- if not outright impossible -- but the Chargers have no choice but to figure it out.
He'll start his sophomore season on injured reserve, and go from there.