LA Chargers fans have been holding their breath all week for confirmation that Justin Herbert will play in the team's Week 3 game against the Jaguars. While that has yet to be determined, all signs initially pointed to Herbert suiting up after he suffered a fractured rib cartilage during the Chargers' loss to the Chiefs last Thursday.
The performance Herbert delivered after the injury, which rendered him immobile and had him writhing in pain after the slightest hits, was almost unfathomable.
The missile to DeAndre Carter up the seam alone was enough to deem him a hero, but he followed it up with a touchdown to Josh Palmer to bring Los Angeles within a field goal with just over a minute remaining, though it was ultimately for naught.
The Chargers have been taking a cautious approach with Herbert, who threw on Tuesday before sitting out Wednesday and going through his normal routine at Thursday's practice. Herbert didn't seemed slowed by the injury, which was available to the media, seemingly hinting that he was on track to play Sunday.
Unfortunately things took a turn for the worse on Friday, as the Chargers' odds dropped from -7 to -3.5 in the blink of an eye. Shortly thereafter, it was reported Herbert wasn't throwing and backup Chase Daniel was taking first-team reps.
The latest Chargers-Jaguars odds suggest Justin Herbert is in danger of missing Week 3.
When in doubt, defer to Vegas. The fact the odds for Chargers-Jaguars underwent a seismic change this suddenly hints Herbert's status for Week 3 is in doubt. While that's a terrifying thought for fans, a long-term injury has already been ruled out. Wouldn't it make sense to shelve Herbert for one week to rest and get healthy rather than risk a more serious injury?
Remember, it was less than a week ago that Herbert gave up a wide-open scramble against the Chiefs because he was in so much discomfort. Fans thought it was reckless he stayed in the game to begin with. Why compromise him further by playing him in a meaningless game this early into the season?
Even if the Chargers lose to the inferior Jaguars, they have 14 games to get their season back on track. And with a fully-healthy (or close to it) Herbert overseeing the operation, odds are they do that pretty quickly.
While Herbert looked good at practice Thursday, it's impossible to project that into a game atmosphere, when he'll be navigating pressure, taking hits (those are inevitable) and putting more strain on his rib cartilage to make throws.
The last thing we want to do is jump to conclusions, but this massive odds shift doesn't bode well for Herbert's chances to play Sunday.
That's only part of the bad news, however, as Corey Linsley didn't practice Friday and JC Jackson and Keenan Allen, though present, didn't partake in individual drills.
A lot can change between now and Sunday, but it's easy to see why the Chargers are no longer a touchdown favorite over Jacksonville.