Hunter Henry’s absence a big loss for Chargers

CARSON, CA – DECEMBER 03: Hunter Henry
CARSON, CA – DECEMBER 03: Hunter Henry /

The Los Angeles Chargers will be without one of their top offensive playmakers going forward.

Chargers tight end Hunter Henry got hurt late in Week 15’s game against the Kansas Chiefs. A blindside hit by Chiefs DT Bennie Logan, who was flagged for unnecessary roughness, led to the injury, as Henry went to the locker room after attempting to recover Austin Ekeler’s early fourth-quarter fumble.

Henry was diagnosed with a small laceration in his kidney and his status was up in the air, per head coach Anthony Lynn. Any hope of Henry playing the final two games–and potentially more–was cut short after the team placed him on injured reserve.

Henry went to Twitter following the news:

Thank you for an incredible 2017 season. I hate that I can’t finish this out. I will heal up and come back better in 2018! Thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers. My guys are going to hold it down now and finish this season out right! #boltup

— Hunter Henry (@Hunter_Henry84) December 20, 2017

This is a huge loss for a Chargers team fighting to make the playoffs. Henry was arguably L.A.’s second-best offensive weapon behind receiver Keenan Allen, who also exited Saturday’s game. Allen is reportedly fine.

The second-year player out of Arkansas finishes the season with 45 catches for 579 yards and four touchdowns. He was third on the team in receptions, receiving yards and targets (62). He was also a big reason why the Chargers (7-7) were able to fight their way back from an ugly 0-4 start. Henry was Pro Football Focus’ highest-graded tight end entering Week 15.

The crazy thing is, the Chargers might have been able to squeeze out a few more wins had Henry become a bigger part of the gameplan (at a consistent rate). In each of the Chargers’ seven wins, Henry had at least five targets; he had less than four targets in six of the team’s seven losses, including two games (Weeks 1 and 3) without any targets.

Expect to see a lot more of Henry in 2018.