NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday that outside linebacker Dwight Freeney suffered a torn quadriceps in the win, according to a pair of sources informed of the injury. Rapoport was told the Chargers believe it's a long-term setback, but the team has yet to determine if Freeney will be placed on season-ending injured reserve.
Freeney was hurt in the second quarter. He stayed on the field with trainers for several minutes before retreating to the locker room.
It's a major loss for a Chargers defense that has struggled to put heat on opposing quarterbacks. Freeney came into the game leading San Diego in hurries and hits. He was signed in May, after 11 successful seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, to fill the gaping hole left by pass rusher Melvin Ingram. (The Chargers have Ingram on the physically-unable-to-perform list with a torn ACL, but he is probably out for the season.)
Rapoport noted that Freeney's two-year contract with the Chargers earns the All-Pro $4.875 million guaranteed in 2013, which looms large now that he faces the prospect of being placed on IR.
With Freeney on the shelf, Jarret Johnson and Larry English will be asked to pick up the slack. It's a good thing Philip Rivers is a man on fire, because the Chargers have their limitations on defense.