Latest Chargers injury news delivers massive blow to the defense

Los Angeles Chargers v Atlanta Falcons
Los Angeles Chargers v Atlanta Falcons / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages

The LA Chargers have had to deal with the worst injury luck in the entire league this season. Not only is the sheer number of injured players concerning, but even Justin Herbert has not been himself for most of the year as he was dealing with fractured rib cartilage.

The Bolts were able to come away with a victory in Week 9 despite being banged up but were unable to do so without escaping some injuries. This time, it was the defensive side of the ball that lost a highly impactful player.

Defensive lineman Austin Johnson went down with a knee injury during the contest and on Monday, head coach Brandon Staley relayed the worst news possible. Johnson will not be returning this season.

Johnson signed a two-year contract with the LA Chargers before the 2022 season and was brought in to be one of the pieces that helped shore up the run defense. While the run defense has still struggled this season, Johnson was a key member of this defensive unit and one of the most underrated players on the roster.

Johnson ranked fifth among qualified interior defensive linemen in run-stop rate this season. Now, it is up to someone like Breiden Fehoko to take this opportunity and make the most out of it with the impressive run-stop numbers he has posted in his career.

Austin Johnson is not the only player with Chargers injury news.

It may have got forgotten about with all of the chaos that happened at the end of the game but Trey Pipkins was forced to exit against the Falcons in the fourth quarter. Pipkins was playing through an MCL injury and reaggravated the injury against Atlanta.

Pipkins is considered day-to-day and Brandon Staley did not rule out the possibility of the right tackle playing on Sunday night against the San Francisco 49ers. If Pipkins is unable to go then Storm Norton is going to be playing right tackle against a 49ers pass rush that will likely eat him alive.

MUST-READ: Promising rookies the Chargers could have drafted in 2022

Regardless, the Chargers' horrible injury luck continues and is only going to make the team's pursuit of a playoff spot in the AFC even harder. The team has overcome a lot of adversity thus far but with a tough schedule on the horizon, Staley and co. are going to be put to the test more than ever.