It is inevitable, injuries will take place in the brutal and rough sport of football. The San Diego Chargers suffered a major blow on Sunday when starting offensive lineman D.J. Fluker was injured early in the 3rd quarter of the teams win against the Lions. The injury occurred as he was rolled up upon on a three yard carry from Melvin Gordon. A purely accidental injury, but when you make your living in the trenches, stuff like this happens.
As it is in the game of football, the next man must stand up. To be successful in this league you must have depth and the next man must step up and play for the team. No easy task to replace Fluker, who has been an anchor on the line since being drafted two years ago out of the University of Alabama.
Chris Hairston replaced Fluker in the lineup. Early indications are that the ankle is not broken and more will known after an MRI. Hairston played in all 16 games for the Buffalo Bills last season, so he does bring some experience to the line. The 6-foot-6 inch and 330 lb lineman is huge but has struggled moving side to side. He will need to improve if the Chargers expect not to miss a beat in their line play.
The 24-year-old Fluker waved to the Chargers faithful as he exited on a cart. He was seen smiling, so hopefully the injury is not too serious. Early reports are a high ankle sprain and a 4 week recovery time. Perhaps Fluker can return for the Monday October 12th game versus the Pittsburgh Steelers. That is a Monday Night Football game and Qualcomm Stadium is sure to be rocking.
The old football adage is “Next Man Up”. That will be true for the Chargers as the team looks for a replacement for their mammoth lineman. Fluker’s loss is huge, but hopefully the injury will only sideline him for a portion of the season.
The Chargers signed Orlando Franklin away from the Denver Broncos this past off-season and that move looks huge for the team. Franklin was given a 5-year/$35-million dollar deal to team up with Fluker but now he must help carry the burden of Fluker’s loss. Welcome to San Diego Mr. Franklin and our history of injury issues on the offensive line.
The Chargers head to Cincinnati next Sunday to take on the Bengals who dismantled the Oakland Raiders in the Raiders home opener. The Bengals have a solid team and the Chargers will surely be tested with their first away game of the 2015 season. More news on D.J. Fluker should be available very soon. Keep your fingers crossed that the news is not bad. BOLT UP!!!