Can the Bolts avoid the injury bug in 2012?


September 2, 2010; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers linebacker Larry English (52) rides a stationary bike on the sidelines during the first quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park. The 49ers defeated the Chargers 17-14. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

Although some teams get luckier than others, every team has its share of injuries.  That’s not to say that injuries are solely based on luck.  There is obviously a serious amount of physical training and preparation that goes into an NFL player avoiding injuries.

Having said that, it sure does seem like the Chargers have been one of the most injured teams in the NFL the last few years.  The infamous injury bug has bitten the Chargers quite frequently in recent memory.

Although they wouldn’t have seen significant time, the Bolts already have at least three very important players that will not be playing in tonight’s preseason matchup against the Green Bay Packers.  Eddie Royal, Jarret Johnson, and Jared Gaither will all miss the game.

Johnson hasn’t missed a regular season contest since 2006.  Royal missed some time last year with a concussion and neck injury.  Gaither has had a history of back issues and Turner has said that he is coming along but slower than he had hoped.

Those are just the new additions.  Rumor has it that Gates is back to being, well, Gates.  Antonio has been suffering through plantar fasciaitis injuries in his foot for the better part of the last four years.  If Gates is indeed healthy, that would mean really big things for the Chargers offense.  It would also mean sleepless nights for opposing defensive coordinators.

We are all aware of the acrobatic catches that M-80, Malcom Floyd, is capable of making.  But let’s not pretend that we don’t all hold our collective breath at the end of each of those plays.  Floyd has played in 16 games in a season only once in his entire career.  Now that he has played with Philip for so long, there is no telling how crazy his stats could be if he were healthy for the entire 2012 season.

One of my favorite Chargers of all time, Nick Hardwick, has missed his fair share of games as well.  His re-signing this offseason was a huge step in keeping this team headed down that Lombardi rewarded path.  Let’s just hope he stays healthy.

Ryan Mathews is just now in his third year in the league.  He is expected, by many, to have a breakout campaign in 2012.  In addition to fumbling issues, Mathews has been dinged up and missed games in both of the previous two seasons.  This season Ryan will be given the chance to show that he can stay healthy, avoid fumbling, and be that workhorse back that Norv Turner loves to feature in his offenses.

Our behemoth right guard, Louis Vasquez, missed a couple games last year and the year before due to injuries.  This could be the year that he starts to move towards being in the top 5 guards in all of football.

Shaun Phillips is in the last year of his contract with the Chargers.  Phillips missed four full games and parts of others as well in 2011.  The Chargers were 0-4 in those games that he missed.

Then there is the story of 2009 first round draft choice Larry English.  English is the poster boy for injuries.  Although he played in all 16 games as a rookie, he missed half of 2010 and 11 games in 2011.  When healthy, which hasn’t been often, Larry has flashed the ability to get after the quarterback.  In his rookie season, English tied Phillips with 16 quarterback hits.  English has already been on the sideline with minor ailments this offseason.  He is expected to play tonight.

One of San Diego Fan’s favorite whipping boys is Nate Kaeding.  Kaeding tore his ACL on the very first play of the 2011 season against the Vikings.  That same play was a kickoff that was returned for a touchdown.  Not exactly how you would like to start the year.  Nate would go on to miss all of 2011.  His replacement Nick Novak came in and had a strong first half only to piss away some opportunities late in the season.  ( Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.)

On the flip side of that coin is our fiery leader Philip Rivers.  Rivers is one of the toughest signal callers in all of the NFL.  We’ll never forget how he played through that ACL injury during the 2007 AFC playoffs.

And lastly, although some of you wish that he would get injured, Jeromey Clary has started every offensive snap the last two seasons.  Clary is never going to be an all-pro.  But his durability helps add to the cohesion of the offensive line being able to play together and get on the same page.  He has reportedly gained some upper body strength in an effort to provide a more powerful punch at the point of engagement.

I’m sure that I have left some players out.  Those just happen to be the players that stick out in my mind.

I have no doubt that if this team can stay healthy that we could win it all this year.  I truly believe that this is our year.  But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I have my concerns about the team staying healthy.  Are you concerned about the Chargers injury issues?  Let me know by leaving a comment at the bottom.

Thanks a lot for reading.