Not only did the LA Chargers lose on Thursday Night Football to the Kansas City Chiefs but the team potentially took a big hit for the entire season as well. Justin Herbert was banged up in the game and afterward, it was revealed that the star quarterback had fractured rib cartilage.
This is an interesting injury to monitor for Herbert. On one hand, there is not the same inherent risk as there is with a fractured bone when it comes to impacting the lung. On the other hand, cartilage can take longer to heal and Herbert is still going to be in an immense amount of pain.
So while he still could play, his level of pain could impact how well he plays and we won't really have an answer to that question until we see him suit up. If Thursday night's heroic effort means anything, Herbert will likely be able to still guide the Chargers to victory.
That does not change the fact that this is concerning for the Chargers as the team geared up for a Super Bowl run this season and not having a 100% version of Herbert is a big blow. While there is a good chance that Herbert won't be fully 100% for quite some time, Chargers fans can still be optimistic as other quarterbacks have shown that they can succeed with this injury.
Most notably, Chargers fans can be optimistic about Justin Herbert because of Tony Romo.
Back in 2014, Tony Romo had torn his rib cartilage and played with it for months before the media was even aware of the injury. Romo was also dealing with back issues that season to compound the injuries that he had to deal with.
If Romo was horrible that season then it would be cause for concern for Chargers fans but that was not the case at all. In fact, you could make the case that the 2014 season was the best season of Romo's entire career.
The Dallas Cowboys quarterback played 15 games and led the league in completion percentage, touchdown percentage, yards per attempt, passer rating and quarterback rating. He was a second-team All-Pro and finished third in MVP voting (with Aaron Rodgers beating him out in both categories).
The Cowboys went on to the playoffs and Romo won just the second playoff game of his career. He would eventually run into the Packers in the Divisional Round and lose by six points, but Romo didn't play that poorly.
Granted, Romo had a great offensive line and a solid run game at the time, so that certainly helped his cause. Herbert may not have as good of an offensive line or run game but the Chargers are still talented in both areas. Plus, Herbert is already doing things that Romo never did while he was a quarterback in the NFL.
This does not guarantee that Herbert is going to be as good as he would have otherwise this season. But it can at least provide some hope that the Chargers' Super Bowl hopes are not dashed.