The Los Angeles Chargers will leave the light on for star left tackle Rashawn Slater.
The second-year All-Pro is set to have surgery to repair his distal biceps (the tendon that connects the biceps muscle to the forearm bones) early this week, sources say, and he faces a recovery time of three-to-four months. While the initial thought publicly was that the blindside protector for quarterback Justin Herbert would be out for the season, that now might not be the case.
The Chargers placed Slater on injured reserve earlier in the week, however a team has eight slots per season for players it can return from IR, and sources say Los Angeles is keeping one open for Slater.
If all goes well, he could return late in the season or for the playoffs if the Chargers advance. The Chargers currently are 1-2 following back-to-back losses to the Chiefs and Jaguars.
Defensive end Joey Bosa, who had successful core muscle surgery this week and is out at least six weeks, will also get one of those IR slots.
While Slater is out and rehabbing, the Chargers will have former Georgia left tackle Jamaree Salyer as their new starter. The 2022 sixth-round draft pick was originally selected as a guard thanks in part to being 6-foot-3, albeit with long arms. The belief is he can ably fill in at tackle.
While inexperienced on the NFL level, Salyer did hold his own against Michigan pass rusher Aidan Hutchinson in the College Football Playoff semifinals last year, before Hutchinson became the No. 2 overall pick. The hope is Salyer builds off this while replacing Slater.
Meanwhile, Slater will be rehabbing with the possibility of returning late in the season. The Chargers play the Rams on Jan. 1 and the Broncos in the season finale on Jan. 8. Conceivably, Slater could play in one of those games or potentially in the playoffs if the Chargers make it.
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