COSTA MESA – Now six days removed from Justin Herbert suffering a fracture to his rib cartilage on Thursday Night Football in Kansas City, Chargers coach Brandon Staley said that his star quarterback did some light throwing on Tuesday and is considered day-to-day.
Herbert was out at practice Wednesday, but did not throw a pass during the viewing portion open to the media. He did, however, partake in a few handoffs at about half speed.
“He’s had a lot of rest since the last game, but I think the nature of the week is truly going to be a case-by-case, day-by-day basis," Staley said of Herbert. "I know that he is feeling more comfortable. ... But we’re just going to take it day-by-day and see where his comfort level is, and truly trust him and let him be the guide of where we’re at, and make sure that we are prepared either way.”
Staley shared that if Herbert is able to take the field Sunday against the Jaguars, he'll wear a rib protector for further support. But in coming to the conclusion of whether or not he's capable of playing, Staley said that will start with Herbert's input first and foremost.
“We’re going to listen to Justin, number one," Staley said. "The player is at the front of all of the decisions that we make here, since I’ve become the head coach, to make sure that the players are at the front of all of the decision-making — their families, their agents, their team.
"Then, making sure that we have alignment with the medical team. That’s been my position since I’ve become the head coach. I think that that is where the modern NFL is, in making sure that they are at the front of every decision that we make and that they have long careers ahead of them."
Some encouraging signs on Wednesday regarding Herbert's health status stems from the fact that he was skipping and swinging his arms in a stretching motion ahead of practice. Generally speaking, you'd figure doing those sorts of twists and movements would indicate that Herbert's ribs are improving to some extent since initially suffering the blow to the midsection last week.
Backup quarterback Chase Daniel handled the bulk of the snaps Wednesday and figures to be the team's starter if Herbert is unable to play.
Daniel has been a backup in the NFL for 13 seasons, making five starts throughout his career in which he holds a 2-3 record.
“Chase has done this his whole career," Staley said. "We’ve had to do this before. Chase is going to be ready to play. During the week, if Justin is full-go for the week, then he doesn’t get any of the team reps in walk-through and stuff like that. But if he’s the guy that is practicing out there, then he will take the lion’s share of the reps and we’ll be ready to go.”
The Chargers will prepare this week with a game plan for each quarterback until they have a clear idea of Herbert's game day status.
“You start with preparing for Jacksonville and what they do, how they do it. Then, featuring who we’re going to have available in the game," Staley said. "Certainly, if Chase is our quarterback, that factors in to a different equation, which we’ll be ready for. Then, if Justin plays, we’ll be ready for that, too."
Ultimately, the final decision will be reliant of Herbert's longterm health in mind, paired with his confidence in the ability to play quarterback accordingly while dealing with this rib issue.
“Just making sure that Justin feels like he can go do the job the way that he can do it," Staley said. "That’s the big thing, him having confidence to be able to go play the game the way that it needs to be played. I don’t think that is going to be determined today, it’s going to be determined as the week goes, up until the game."
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Nick Cothrel is the publisher of Charger Report. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickCothrel for more Chargers coverage.