The Chargers’ offense received a brutal blow on Tuesday, and barring an impending second opinion revealing a different diagnosis, Hunter Henry will be lost for the season.
Henry suffered a torn ACL during a drill Tuesday, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. The third-year tight end will seek a second opinion on Wednesday, per Schefter, who adds this injury came during a non-contact sequence.
The Bolts have now confirmed the initial diagnosis for their top tight end.
Expected to make a big leap after the Chargers announced they would not bring back Antonio Gates, Henry will now be out until his contract year of 2019. The former second-round pick amassed 579 receiving yards and four touchdowns last season, emerging as the Bolts’ go-to tight end. He has 12 career TDs.
Gates remains a free agent, and with the calculus changing considerably for the Chargers this week, it can’t be ruled out the 37-year-old could be back for one last run with the team. The Bolts signed longtime Broncos tight end Virgil Green in free agency, but the eighth-year player rarely provided much in the way of receiving production. Instead, Green’s more known for his blocking skills. Gates caught 30 passes for a career-low 316 yards last season, but in the two games Henry missed in December, the future Hall of Famer totaled 127 yards and a touchdown.
This marks the latest setback for the Chargers, who have dealt with a string of injuries to skill-position players in recent years. Danny Woodhead, Keenan Allen and Mike Williams have seen seasons nullified or disrupted by maladies in recent years. Now, Henry — who has played 29 of a possible 32 regular-season games as a pro — joins the list. Only the stakes are higher now than they were when those previous injuries occurred. The Chargers have drawn buzz as the AFC West favorite after re-routing their season from 0-4 to the playoff bubble last fall. And the events of Tuesday strip Philip Rivers of one of his top weapons.
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