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Chargers' Joey Bosa isn't ready to return from injury, but he's 'getting close'

Chargers' Joey Bosa isn't ready to return from injury, but he's 'getting close'
Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa hits Cleveland Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer and forces a fumble during a game on Dec. 3, 2017. (John Cordes / Associated Press)

Joey Bosa’s season finally has taken an optimistic turn, the defensive end saying Monday he is closer to playing again.

The Chargers Pro Bowler has been out since early August when he suffered a bone bruise in his left foot. He reaggravated the injury in September and was left to lament his attempt to come back too soon.

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Though Bosa won’t play Sunday against Seattle, he said he feels certain he’ll be back in the near future.

“The second my foot is ready to practice on a Wednesday, I will play that week,” he said. “Whether it be next week, whether it be two weeks from now. I’m feeling very confident with the way it’s progressing that I’m going to be out there in the next few weeks, ready to go.”

Bosa mostly has been limited to running in a straight line, but Monday did so in cleats for the first time. He also lined up in a three-point stance, something he hadn’t done in weeks.

He said a recent MRI showed continued healing, the belief being that surgery will not be necessary.

Bosa also said he has been assured by a doctor that it’s OK to push through whatever pain he might feel.

“You need to differentiate between a shooting pain and some soreness and discomfort,” Bosa said. “Ever since we’ve gotten that message, we’ve felt OK with progressing forward and pushing it a bit. Now we’re here and it’s getting better every single day.”

He originally suffered the injury in practice Aug. 7, missing all four preseason games before attempting to rejoin practice in advance of the opener.

But in his first workout, Bosa suffered a setback and later admitted it was something “I could have prevented” had he not tried to return before his foot was sufficiently healed.

“I think he can definitely learn something from that,” coach Anthony Lynn said. “You don’t want to come back with these small bones in your feet too soon because it can lead to something else.”

At the end of September, Bosa expressed optimism that he could be back after the Chargers’ off week, potentially putting him in line to play against the Seahawks.

That won’t happen, but Bosa called his status going forward “a week-to-week type thing.”

After playing at Seattle, the Chargers visit Oakland on Nov. 11 and host Denver on Nov. 18.

“People keep asking me, ‘When are you going to be ready?’ ” Bosa said. “I’m going to be ready when my foot is ready to play. I’m not going to push it a day early, and I’m also not going to be sitting around healthy waiting for the best matchup.”

What the Chargers want to avoid is Bosa again coming back before his foot is fully ready. Another setback could end his season.

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“He’s getting close,” Lynn said. “But it’s still a process.”

Without Bosa, the Chargers struggled early in the season to generate a consistent push rush. Second-year pro Isaac Rochell initially started in Bosa’s spot, with uneven results.

Damion Square, a veteran defensive tackle, has started the past four games at end and the Chargers have done a better job pressuring the opposing quarterback.

“I think reps, you know, younger guys getting more game reps,” Lynn said when asked about the improved pass rush. “Learning to win their one-on-ones. … These guys, they learn from their mistakes. They work on those things. We emphasize it. They’re getting better.”

Gordon on the mend

The injury news concerning Melvin Gordon was even more optimistic, Lynn indicating the running back’s sore hamstring benefited from the team being off.

“He ran well last week,” Lynn said. “He’s going to do some things this week. We’ll see where he’s at.”

Gordon was injured Oct. 19 while the Chargers were practicing in London. Two days later, he was unable to play after failing to make it through a pregame workout before facing Tennessee.

Lynn said he expects Gordon to be “out there with us on the field” when practice resumes Wednesday. Gordon’s status for the game Sunday will be unknown until later in the week.

“Hamstrings can be tricky,” Lynn said. “You don’t what to rush those, either.”

Just for kicks

The Chargers’ kicking situation will remain in flux for a few more days, at least. Veteran Caleb Sturgis (quadriceps) has missed the past two games.

Rookie Michael Badgley is three for three on field goals and seven for seven on extra points in Sturgis’ absence.

“We definitely have to take a look at what Michael’s doing,” Lynn said. “I think he’s doing a heck of a job for us.”

Extra points

Tight end Hunter Henry continues to make his way back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered in May. “Anything’s possible,” Lynn said about Henry playing this season. “He has looked a lot better than I thought he would at this point.”… Offensive tackle Joe Barksdale (knee) returned to play 12 snaps against the Titans in Week 7, his first action since the opener. “We’re working Joe back into the lineup,” Lynn said. “The game speed, the chemistry up front with the O-line, sometimes that takes time.”

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