In December, the decision probably would have been different, J.C. Jackson — with the help of an injection — probably opting to play through the discomfort.
But it’s only the third week of August, so Jackson chose to undergo a surgical procedure Tuesday on his right ankle to correct an issue that flared up 2½ weeks ago.
“He just felt like, if we can get this thing done,” Chargers coach Brandon Staley said, “that he’s going to be full speed and there’s no turning back.”
The Chargers expect Jackson to return to the field in two to four weeks, a window that has him potentially starting the season on time or sitting out the first two games.
Staley explained that Jackson’s ankle is structurally sound and there was “no injury, so to speak.” The timetable for his return is dependent solely on the surgical wound healing.
In Jackson’s absence, Michael Davis and Asante Samuel Jr. will be the Chargers’ starting outside cornerbacks, with Bryce Callahan manning the slot.
“We have a lot of confidence in all three of those guys,” Staley said. “Those guys are all quality players who know our defense inside and out, who have all made big plays throughout their careers, throughout training camp.”
The Chargers open the season Sept. 11 against Las Vegas and then play another AFC West game — at Kansas City — just four days later.
Jackson was the team’s top free-agent addition of the offseason, signing a five-year deal worth up to $82.5 million, $40 million of which is guaranteed. He is expected to provide lock-down coverage on the outside.
After the ankle issue surfaced, Staley said the Chargers tried rehabilitation with Jackson and then an injection. When neither approach provided enough relief, surgery became the next option.
“It’s really more of a comfort level … more about his peace of mind moving forward,” Staley said. “That’s what he wanted to do, and we supported that.”
Now, Jackson and the Chargers can only wait for his body to respond.
“If the wound heals quickly, it could be on the low side [of the timetable],” Staley said. “And if it takes a little bit of time, it could be on the high side. … He’ll be back somewhere in that timeframe.”
The Chargers officially concluded training camp with their 19th practice Wednesday.
The players who didn’t participate included safeties Alohi Gilman (undisclosed) and Mark Webb Jr. (calf), tight ends Donald Parham Jr. (hamstring) and Sage Surratt (undisclosed), running back Isaiah Spiller (ankle) and cornerback Deane Leonard (hamstring).
The Chargers will travel to New Orleans on Thursday and play the Saints in their preseason finale Friday.
“It’s important that we go out there and play well,” said Staley, who was not pleased with the Chargers’ showing in a 32-18 loss to Dallas on Saturday.
In that game, the Chargers surrendered two special-teams touchdowns and had the only two turnovers.
Chase Daniel will start at quarterback against the Saints and Easton Stick will follow him, Staley said. Most of the Chargers participating in the game will be back-of-the-roster players and those who won’t survive the next round of cuts.
The NFL mandates that rosters be reduced to 53 players by 1 p.m. PT Tuesday. The Chargers are expected to start making cuts Sunday. Once players clear waivers, they can be re-signed to a team’s practice squad.
Following his offensive rookie of the year showing in 2020, Justin Herbert performed at a level that earned him a Pro Bowl trip last season.
Expanding his game even more entering his third NFL season means focusing on the fine-print details, such as cadences used at the line of scrimmage.
Throughout training camp, Herbert could be heard varying his voice in an attempt to get the opposition off balance.
“It’s another level of the game that you can kind of take advantage of the defense,” Herbert said. “… The offensive line, they love that when they get a jump on the defense or maybe those guys are jumping offside. Any free play that we can get, I think it’s a huge help for our offense.”
Herbert explained that center Corey Linsley has been urging him to work on his cadence, Linsley having spent the first seven years of his career snapping for Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay.
Rodgers is one of the league’s top manipulators at the line of scrimmage. Herbert said he has watched video of Packers games to try to identify tactics he can use.
“I think Corey has got a great feel for that,” he said. “And so we’ve picked up a lot of the cadences that they used over in Green Bay.”
Joshua Palmer cleared concussion protocol and returned to practice. The team’s No. 3 wide receiver, Palmer entered the protocol after the Chargers played Dallas.