COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP)Justin Herbert would like to not answer questions about his broken middle finger. However, his recent play has not made them go away.
The Los Angeles Chargers quarterback spent nearly four minutes following Wednesday’s practice discussing the broken middle finger on his left, non-throwing hand.
“I think every day it’s getting better. We’re coming up on four weeks, so just doing everything I can to limit the pain and make sure I’m out here being safe,” Herbert said.
Herbert suffered the injury late in the third quarter during a 24-17 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders on Oct. 1. He had a big completion to Josh Palmer after the two-minute warning to put the game away, but has struggled in losses to the Dallas Cowboys and Kansas City Chiefs.
In the nine quarters since being injured, Herbert has completed only 58.6% of his passes and a sub-par 79.5 passer rating. Both are below his career numbers of a 66.9% completion rate and 96.3 rating.
Herbert has been playing with a glove on his right hand, but that came off during a second-quarter series against the Chiefs. That caused him to hand off on running plays with his left hand until he got a replacement glove the next drive.
The glove used last week had a larger middle finger to fit the cast. But since it came off, the plan is to go back to the drawing board to find a fit that is more feasible.
When it comes to wearing the glove, Herbert said it allows him to have a better grip on the ball, especially when the pocket gets tight. He added it hasn’t been a difference between lining up under center or taking snaps in the shotgun or pistol.
The Chargers haven’t drastically changed their approach on where Herbert lines up since the injury. He was under center on 16.7% of the plays the first four weeks. In the past two games, it was 18 of 121 offensive plays, or 14.9%.
The two things that have affected Herbert the most are the absences of wide receiver Mike Williams and center Corey Linsley.
Williams suffered a season-ending knee injury at Minnesota on Sept. 24 and Linsley has been on injured reserve since Sept. 29 due to a nonemergent heart issue.
With both players out of the lineup, Herbert has held on to the ball longer and has seen his pressure rate increase from 27.2% to 42.8%. Herbert was sacked five times against the Chiefs, which tied a career high.
“It’s definitely tough losing two guys like that. They’re about as good as it gets. They’re veterans in this league that have had a bunch of success,” Herbert said.
Herbert and the 2-4 Chargers will look to rebound against the Bears, who have won two of their last three after an 0-4 start. Chicago comes into the game with the league’s fourth-worst pass defense, allowing 257.1 yards per game.
Notes: TE Gerald Everett (hip) and Palmer (knee) did not practice on Wednesday. Coach Brandon Staley said Palmer’s status is day-to-day.
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl