The team announced Wednesday that Hardwick has been placed on season-ending injured reserve with a neck injury. Hardwick has had a history of "stinger" issues and had suffered a neck injury in San Diego's third preseason game. He exited the season opener with an ankle injury.
"Nerve damage isn't something you want to start messing with," Hardwick said, per U-T San Diego, adding that he hasnt' decided if he'll play again.
Hardwick has been Philip Rivers' center for the quarterback's entire career. The pair became starters together in 2004.
"Nick is one of the best, if not the best, at his position to ever play for the Chargers," general manager Tom Telesco said in a press release distributed by the team. "In my 20 years in the NFL, he's one of the best teammates I've ever been around. We'll miss him in the lineup, but we have complete confidence in Rich (Ohrnberger) and the other players to step up and do the job."
The former third-round pick has started all 136 games he's played in the NFL, including the past 67 games in a row. That streak will end when Ohrnberger takes the field on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks. Ohrnberger played well in a relief role on Monday night, though a cross-up with Rivers on a shotgun snap put the Chargers out of field-goal range late in an eventual 18-17 loss.
Rivers took the blame for the misplay.