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Chargers safety Derwin James designated to return

Los Angeles Chargers safety Derwin James is finally one step closer to getting back on the field.

During his Monday afternoon press conference, coach Anthony Lynn announced that the star defensive back has been officially designated to return off injured reserve. James has been rehabbing since August after getting surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot.

"He looks good. He looks good in uniform. It's good seeing back on the field, just his spirit and leadership that he brings to this football team," Lynn told the media.

The Chargers are coming off their Week 12 bye, a break preceded by a heartbreaking 24-17 loss to the Chiefs in Mexico City. It was L.A.'s seventh such loss of the season. In James' absence, the Bolts' defense currently tied for the fourth-fewest passing yards allowed per game (219.7) in the NFL.

The timing of Lynn's announcement is on par with the comments James made while appearing on NFL Total Access less than a week ago.

"I'm feeling well, feeling better, getting better every day," James told NFL Network's Lindsay Rhodes on Nov. 19. "Just taking it day-by-day. It's real close, real soon. I can say that. So just taking it day-by-day. Working hard to get back out there."

James' pending return is, like he said himself, real close. Only question left to answer is, how close?

The Chargers are set to face the Broncos on the road in Week 13 with their playoff hopes still dangling between shoddy and slim chance, at best. Based on Lynn's remarks, though, there is expectation that safety Adrian Phillips, who was designated for return from IR on Nov. 17 after being out since Week 2 with a broken arm, could be on a faster track to being ready this week.

"At his position, you'd like to see a change of direction, quickness, burst, things like that," Lynn said of what it would take for James to play versus Denver. "Adrian has a better chance of playing this week [than James]."

Regardless of when he's back in the lineup, the hope is that James will be able to get back to building on his stellar rookie campaign.

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