Joey Bosa returned to the practice field for the first time in four months Thursday, going through about 15 live reps on the day he was designated to return from Injured Reserve.
Bosa, who injured his groin in Week 3 against Jacksonville, spoke in the Chargers locker room for 10-plus minutes after practice.
"I'm feeling really good. Just good to be back out there," Bosa said. "Light practice, had a good couple workouts earlier this week. Yesterday, got with [Chargers outside linebackers coach] Giff [Smith], did some individual stuff.
"Feeling confident, feeling good," Bosa added. "About 15 reps today so easy day to get back into it and felt really good on all of them."
Bosa's return activated a 21-day practice window for the veteran outside linebacker. He must be activated off Injured Reserve in that timespan to be able to play in a game.
Bosa was asked if there was a chance he could play Sunday against the Rams.
"Yeah, I mean, I'm going to take it one day at a time and let the coaches decide on that," Bosa said. "I think I'm feeling really good.
"I kind of made it a point to not come back until I felt confident in myself and being able to perform in a game, not just go out there for three reps at practice and feel decent," Bosa added. "Yeah, I'm feeling very good."
Bosa, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, has 59.5 sacks and 14 forced fumbles in 82 games. The four-time Pro Bowler is also a team captain.
But the biggest revelation the 27-year-old made Thursday is that he had been dealing with groin and core muscle issues for the past two seasons, primarily on his left side.
As a result, Bosa said he was overcompensating with his right side, which led to him getting injured in the first quarter against the Jaguars.
"It tore completely," said Bosa, who added that he had surgery on both sides on his body.
Over the past two years, Bosa said he had been able to work through it to a point where he could play, but that he didn't deem himself 100 percent.
He revealed that even tasks such as kicking his cleats together to get grass off them was a chore at times.
"Yeah, it's been years that I've been dealing with this groin issues," Bosa said. "It's something that I can train through and get strong enough to be able to play, but [not] be able to do everything I wanted to. A lot of work around this offseason was babying a lot of things, working around a lot of things.
"I mean, I came in saying that I was feeling as good as I was in a long time, which I was, but it's been a long time since I've actually been able to feel good and push things the way I want to," Bosa added. "Obviously, coming back midseason I'm not going to be conditioned great and feeling amazing, but I'm pretty confident that as I keep playing and into next year it's going to be a whole different thing out there for lack of a better term."
Check out the best photos of the Chargers Thursday practice at Hoag Performance Center
Bosa had 10.5 sacks in 16 games during the 2021 season while finishing second the league with seven forced fumbles.
Bosa opened up Thursday about the issues he dealt with, adding that his times in recent drills and workouts have been quicker that they have in previous seasons.
"Just serious pain, pretty much doing anything," Bosa said. "Whether it was leg work or just anything, going out on the field, it was kind of unknown thing that got worse over last year and it limited kind of everything from drills I can do on the field, to how intense I can do drills, to how well I'm bending.
"We kind of just laugh and shake our head out there and we try not to get giddy or anything," Bosa added. "My trainer [Todd Rice] doesn't, because it's the first time he's been able to see me enjoy working and pushing it really hard like he knows I can. It's been fun. It's been a grind obviously, 10, 12 weeks straight."
Bosa noted that past few months have been "revitalizing," and said he feels better now than he has in years.
"Obviously, it sucks to miss all this time, but it's honestly that something that I really, really needed to get done," Bosa said.
While it remains to be seen when Bosa returns to the lineup, he'll be welcomed with open arms when that time comes.
"Just the energy he's going to bring," said Chargers Defensive Coordinator Renaldo Hill. "You know he's going to be able to get to the quarterback with his pass rush, take some of the chips of Khalil [Mack] that he's been experiencing all year.
"[We're] able to move different guys around to different spots to try and free up some guys," Hill added. "He opens up a lot of things for a lot of different people on this defense."
Bosa had 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble in two-plus games before he was injured.
The Bolts defense had its ups and downs through the middle stretch of the season, but has been lights out in recent weeks.
Since Week 13, the Bolts rank first in both points (11.3) and yards (225) allowed per game.
Bosa's return should only be a boost to that unit.
"We're in a great place as a team and I'm feeling better than I have in years, honestly," Bosa said. "So, it's really good timing right now … we're playing really well right now. And that's with the lack of some really key players. I think it'll get better as we keep getting healthy."
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