It’s going to take a group effort for the San Diego Chargers to replace Keenan Allen with the wide receiver out for the rest of the season after lacerating a kidney at the end of a spectacular touchdown catch Sunday in a loss at Baltimore.
Allen was having an outstanding season. His 67 catches were second in the NFL and tied for third-most in league history through the first eight games. His 725 yards were third in the NFL.
"It’s not going to be like, `Hey, who’s going to be the next guy who’s going to catch 70 the next eight games?’ `’ quarterback Philip Rivers said Wednesday. "I don’t know that that’ll happen. It could, but I think it will be more by committee effort."
Allen outjumped two Baltimore defenders to haul in a 13-yard scoring pass Sunday but was injured when he landed hard.
"It’s a tough loss for us. First and foremost you just care about him," Rivers said. "You hope he gets well."
The Chargers said Allen could remain hospitalized until later this week.
Rivers and other teammates visited Allen.
"More than anything, I just care about him," Rivers said. "I was able to tell him, `Shoot, I’ll pray for you and hope you feel better. Just feel better.’
"At least every indication is he’s going to be just fine, but it’s just going to take time," the QB added. "He doesn’t feel real good right now, obviously. I tried to make him smile. He had a newspaper there sitting right beside him, of his catch, that ended up having him laying where he was laying. We talked about what a year he was having. I know he’s disappointed. Not only is he dealing with something serious, but he’s off to one of the best starts ever so I know he hates he can’t be out there to finish that and help us try to turn this around."
San Diego (2-6) has lost four straight games. It hosts Chicago (2-5) on Monday night.
Dontrelle Inman will slide into a starting role with Allen out. Javontee Herndon was signed to the active roster from the practice squad.
The Chargers also have Malcom Floyd, who caught two touchdown passes at Baltimore, including a career-long 70-yarder, and Stevie Johnson. Tight ends Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green have been dealing with injuries.
Floyd stressed the need for everyone to step up.
"He’s one of a kind," Floyd said of Allen. "There’s nobody like him."