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Chargers QB Justin Herbert visiting hand specialists, status for Thursday vs. Raiders uncertain

COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — Justin Herbert will visit two hand specialists on Monday after the Chargers quarterback fractured the index finger on his right hand during the second quarter of Los Angeles’ 24-7 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

Coach Brandon Staley said Monday morning that he would wait until those visits were completed before he made a decision on Herbert's status for Thursday night's game at the Las Vegas Raiders.

“There’s a lot of information that we’re gathering right now, but he's as tough as they come. We’re gonna make sure that whatever it is, we’re going to do what’s best for Justin long term,” Staley said about the franchise quarterback, who signed a $252 million, five-year extension before the start of training camp.

Herbert, the sixth overall pick in the 2020 draft, has been durable in his career, with 62 consecutive regular-season starts. He has played through a broken finger on his non-throwing hand earlier this season and fractured rib cartilage last season. A broken finger on the throwing hand though would appear to be something that might be difficult to overcome.

CBS commentator Matt Ryan, the former quarterback who played 16 years in the league, said during Sunday's game the index finger is the second-most important finger for a quarterback because it has so much to do with feel and accuracy.

“If there’s any chance to play, I’ll do everything I can to be out there. I’m going to do everything I can in the treatment room to get back to 100 percent," said Herbert, who was 9 of 17 for 96 yards with an interception against the Broncos before getting injured during the second quarter.

The injury apparently happened while Herbert was taken down awkwardly by Denver’s Zach Allen after completing an 11-yard pass to Donald Parham. Herbert was in for four more plays, and was 1 of 3 passing for 14 yards.

The Chargers are 5-8 and have dropped four of their past five. If Herbert is unable to go, backup Easton Stick seems likely to become only the Chargers’ fourth starting quarterback since 2006.

Stick went 13 of 24 for 179 yards in Herbert’s place, and the Bolts scored on just one of their five drives in the second half while Denver pulled away.

Max Duggan, who was selected in the seventh round of April's draft, would be called up from the practice squad if Stick gets the start.

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Joe Reedy, The Associated Press