Chargers' Joey Bosa will be limited if he returns to field Sunday

ByEric D. Williams ESPN logo
Friday, November 16, 2018

COSTA MESA, Calif. -- The waiting and watching was the hardest part for Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa.

Bosa practiced as a limited participant for a second straight day Thursday and could be available for Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos after missing the first nine games of the season with a bruised left foot.

Bosa first injured his foot Aug. 7. He then aggravated the injury during practice on the Wednesday before the team's season-opening loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

"When I walked into the locker room before the KC game, it just hit me that I wasn't playing," Bosa told reporters Thursday. "I remember almost choking up and had to walk out of the locker room. But after that moment, I didn't let it get to me like that."

Asked whether he'll play Sunday, Bosa said he's still in wait-and-see mode.

"It's really not decided yet," Bosa said. "We're just continuing with the plan, and that's to practice this week. And we'll see how it feels on Sunday."

Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said he likes what he has seen so far in limited time on the field from Bosa. However, until the medical staff gives the Ohio State product the green light, Bradley is preaching patience like Bosa.

Bradley understands that even if Bosa is cleared to play, he still isn't in football shape because he did not participate in all of training camp -- although Bosa said he has had 39 workouts in the past 29 days and he feels like he's in good shape.

So if Bosa does take the field Sunday, expect to see him in about 10 to 15 plays in obvious passing situations.

"Any player loves to be with his teammates and the ability to compete again," Bradley said about Bosa. "So I'm sure he wished he could go faster. He's so competitive and he wants to be with his teammates. I think that we've just got to follow the procedure that's set up for him."

The Chargers have been productive rushing the passer without Bosa, so they don't have to rush to get him back on the field.

Since being inserted in the starting lineup in Bosa's spot at defensive end in Week 4, Damion Square has 2.5 sacks. And during the team's six-game winning streak, the Chargers have totaled 19 sacks, good enough for a tie for seventh in the NFL.

Bosa understands that if he does play Sunday, he'll likely deal with some pain from injury.

"Honestly, until I'm done playing this year, I'll probably be experiencing soreness and discomfort," Bosa said. "I'm sure after the game next Monday it's going to be pretty tough, but it's something you have to manage with ice."

No matter whether he is on the field or has to wait another week, Bosa said he's just pleased that the waiting is almost over, with his targeted return constantly shifting throughout the process.

"I kept putting timetables on it, and it really never played out," Bosa said. "Once we kind of got the message across that it's going to be ready when it's ready, we kind of all got on the same page -- coaches and everything.

"Ever since then it's kind of been a week-to-week kind of thing. And it's been easier on me not having a set deadline, trying to push it or rush to a certain week, which is what put me in this position to begin with. If I never would have rushed to begin with, I probably would have been fine early on."

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