Chargers' Derwin James Feels Ready to Return Soon from Foot Injury
COSTA MESA, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Chargers' 2019 season irrevocably changed the moment All-Pro safety Derwin James fractured the fifth metatarsal in his right foot during training camp. The injury insured that James would miss at least half of the year on injured reserve and keep one of the NFL's young stars from building upon his breakout rookie campaign.
But while nothing can give back the past three months and change to James, the defensive back can still have an impact on what remains of the season. The Chargers designated James for return from IR earlier this week, giving him and fellow injured safety Adrian Phillips the opportunity to rejoin the defense in December.
"I've been rehabbing and working my butt off, me and Adrian Phillips," James says. "Like I say, man, I got to get in shape. Get ready to play and make plays."
The Chargers defense has looked like a shell of itself during James' absence. Despite his young age, James rates as one of the league's most dangerous and versatile defenders, one that allowed defensive coordinator Gus Bradley to deploy seven defensive backs together during last season's playoff win over the Baltimore Ravens. James' presence should also help Los Angeles shore up the tackling deficiencies that have plagued the unit most of the year.
How soon can James return to the field? According to him, perhaps as soon as Sunday's matchup with the Denver Broncos.
"I'm closer to it," James says. "Cause I've been doing it a couple of weeks now. So now I'm getting really, really close to where I know I need to be in order to have a great game Sunday."
-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning sports journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. Follow him on Twitter: @by_JBH