The San Diego Chargers placed Pro Bowl left guard Kris Dielman on season-ending injured reserve Wednesday because of the lingering effects of a concussion sustained Oct. 23 at the New York Jets.
He originally was expected to miss two games following the concussion and a grand mal seizure suffered on the plane ride home.
The promise of playing seven more games without Dielman was a disappointment to the entire team, which must find a way to continue without one of its best players.
”Kris Dielman is not only the heart and soul of that position group, but of the entire team as well,” coach Norv Turner said. ”He brings so much more than a physical presence to the field. We’re going to miss him during this period and we can’t wait until he’s completely healthy and can get out and play again.”
Dielman has undergone tests that indicate he will fully recover and will be able to return next season.
The team’s reaction to Dielman’s concussion came under scrutiny by the NFL and the NFL Players Association. He did not come out of the game even though he was visibly staggered by the injury, and wasn’t diagnosed until afterward.
The Chargers (4-5) face an uphill climb as they try to snap a four-game losing streak. Left tackle Marcus McNeill suffered a stinger in his neck and right guard Louis Vasquez injured his left ankle in Thursday’s loss to the Oakland Raiders. It’s unlikely that either will play Sunday against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.
”It’s a tall order,” right tackle Jeromey Clary said, ”but we’ll do the best we can with the guys we have.”
The team signed offensive lineman Ikechuku Ndukwe to replace Dielman on the roster. The Chargers signed veteran Tony Moll on Tuesday to help work through injury woes at offensive line.
Eight players, including six starters, missed Wednesday’s practice.
The prognosis for many of them is not good. Turner is not optimistic that wide receiver Malcom Floyd (hip) or McNeill will play Sunday. It’s unlikely that Vasquez (ankle) or linebacker Shaun Phillips (foot) will play.
In addition, cornerback Marcus Gilchrist (hamstring), defensive end Luis Castillo (tibia), guard Tyronne Green and nose tackle Antonio Garay (hip) missed Wednesday’s workout.
Inside linebacker Takeo Spikes returned to practice after suffering a concussion against the Raiders.