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Herbert to See Hand Specialists, Status for Thursday Unclear


Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert will see a pair of hand specialists Monday to gather more information about his fractured right index finger.

The Bolts will know more about the severity of Herbert's injury — and his status for Thursday night's game against Las Vegas — after those meetings.

"There's a lot of information that we're gathering right now," said Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley. "He is tough as they come, but we're going to make sure that, whatever it is, we're going to do what is best for Justin, long-term."

Herbert was injured late in the second quarter in Week 14's loss to the Broncos. He got an X-ray but had trouble gripping the ball, which led to Easton Stick playing two-plus quarters.

With the Chargers at 5-8, Staley noted that the team will "100 percent" focus on Herbert's long-term outlook in the coming days and weeks.

"All of our focus has to be on his future," Staley said. "There's nothing more important than that, than his right hand and his long-term future.

"He's 25 years old. Has a really, really bright future in front of him," Staley added. "Every decision that we make is going to be with that in mind."

Take a look back at the Chargers Week 14 game against the Broncos in monochrome

If Herbert does not play Thursday, it would snap a string of 62 consecutive starts — the second-longest current streak for an NFL quarterback.

And it would mean that Stick is in line for his first NFL start.

The 28-year-old, a 2019 fifth-round pick out of North Dakota State, has attempted 25 passes in his NFL career, all but one of which came Sunday.

Staley said Monday that Stick has shown tremendous growth "in all ways as a quarterback" in recent seasons, even if he has a limited sample size in game action.

"Mechanically, throwing the football with accuracy, I think that he has really developed that sense of, 'Hey, this is what my base needs to be, this is where my shoulders need to be.' Consistency with his stroke. I think that you saw that last night," Staley said. "I thought that you saw him really drive the football — throw it with touch, really drive it on some of those in-breaks. There was a tight third-down throw to Keenan [Allen] in a bunch of traffic that I thought was really good. That fourth down to Keenan on the choice [route], he really ripped that, gave him a chance. I think that he has really improved mechanically.

"Then, he's really sharp. He studies, he's a gym rat, and he gives you that dimension with his legs," Staley continued. "That's important with your backup quarterback, that you have that element of mobility, because you know that teams are probably going to pressure and stuff like that.

"To have a guy that is smart and that can move, it gives you a chance," Staley added. "As I mentioned, I think that he can learn a lot from that tape and give our team confidence going into Thursday."

Staley and two of Stick's teammates voiced their belief for Stick if he has to start in Week 15.

"I told him this last night, when he went into the game, our team believed that he would move the team," Staley said. "I think that our team has been watching him now for three years — some of them for longer, he's been here since 2019.

"They believe in Easton. They know what he can do," Staley added. "I did think, in the second half, he did some things that we definitely need to build off of for this Thursday night."

Sebastian Joseph-Day added: "I have nothing but full confidence in Easton Stick. The looks that he gives us week-in and week-out [on the scout team] are amazing. He's confident, he's poised, he knows the offense like the back of his hand. He's honestly a great, great quarterback, and I believe he actually proved that with what the situation he was put in. A lot of quarterbacks put in that situation, they probably wouldn't give you points."

Derwin James, Jr. said: "I have all the confidence in the world. He gives us a great look every week [on the scout team]. When he got in the game, you seen the throws he was able to make and some of the plays he was able to make. I got all the confidence in him and we're going to be behind him and have his back as a defense."

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