The 6-6 Chargers, who are on the outside of the AFC playoff picture as of the time of this writing, may soon welcome back one of their best players. Per Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Bolts will evaluate defensive end Joey Bosa early this week with the expectation that he will begin practicing on Wednesday (video link).
Bosa, 27, exited Los Angeles’ Week 3 loss to the Jaguars early due to a groin injury that ultimately required surgery. The team hoped that offseason acquisition Khalil Mack and Bosa would combine to form one of the NFL’s most fearsome pass-rushing duos, and while Mack has mostly lived up to expectations — seven sacks and a 74.3 overall grade from Pro Football Focus — Bosa’s absence has clearly hurt. The Chargers’ 22 sacks are the fifth-fewest in the league, and the team is near the bottom of the pack in total defense (though the Bolts were not much better in that regard in 2021 either).
Once Bosa begins practicing, the team will have three weeks from that date to activate him off of injured reserve. The most recent reporting on the matter suggested that Bosa’s injury would prevent him from returning to his typical level of performance this year, but a mostly-healthy Bosa should still benefit a struggling defense. As long as the Chargers remain in playoff contention, they will likely give the four-time Pro Bowler every chance to see game action.
Bosa has run into several maladies that have required absences over the course of his career. He missed four games as a rookie in 2016 (hamstring), was shut down for nine during the 2018 season (foot), and missed four more contests in 2020 (two concussions). His 2022 IR stint is part of a long list of health woes that have thus far undermined the fortunes of a club that entered the season with a reloaded defense and championship aspirations.
In what has become a frustrating refrain for Chargers fans, Los Angeles has once again lost key players on both sides of the ball for extended periods of time. Even as the team prepares to bring Bosa back into the fold, it will take on the Dolphins on Sunday without safety Derwin James, defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day, and cornerback Bryce Callahan, as Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com reports. James, no stranger to lengthy IR stays himself, suffered a quadriceps injury in LA’s Week 12 victory over the Cardinals, and while he played through the injury in last week’s loss to the Raiders, he is not healthy enough to suit up for a pivotal bout with Miami.