COSTA MESA — Like the synaptic lapse of the pain from stubbing a toe, the news landed with a thud at the Los Angeles Chargers’ Hoag Performance Center headquarters.
Tight end Hunter Henry, who was such a key contributor to Sunday’s overtime win over the Indianapolis Colts with four catches for 60 yards, was diagnosed this week with a Tibia Plateau Fracture in his left knee.
While Henry won’t need surgery, he could be looking at four-to-six weeks recovery time with the same type of injury that ended J.J. Watt’s season in 2017.
“It shows you how tough Hunter is that he went back in and played with it in overtime,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said. “But you have to feel for Hunter after what he went though last year.”
Henry tore an ACL during OTAs in the 2018 offseason. He did not return until the AFC Divisional playoff game at New England in January.
“He was so excited to be back, and you saw how much he helped us Sunday,” said Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. “I just feel awful for HH. Hopefully he’s a quick healer.”
While pass rushing fiend Joey Bosa got most of the attention for playing on Opening Day after missing the first nine weeks a year ago, Henry’s was also a welcome addition.
Three of Henry’s four catches came on third down, sustaining drives. The other was integral to the winning drive in overtime.
“I never saw somebody who loved to play football as much as Hunter,” Chargers Pro Bowl center Mike Pouncey said. “He was the most excited guy I’ve ever seen on Sunday, and now this.
“That’s the NFL. Now it’s next man up.”
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The Chargers also reported defensive tackle Isaac Rochelle was diagnosed with a concussion.
“In the NFL, you never know from week to week what roster you’ll have,” Lynn said. “It’s up to the coaches to find a way to win with the personnel we have.”