When Los Angeles Chargers standout safety Derwin James limped away from a second straight offseason on Sunday, it was reported that he would miss significant time.
It is significant indeed, with the all-star defensive back dealt another heartbreaking blow as James will need meniscus surgery and will miss the 2020 season, as he'll be out six to eight months, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday afternoon.
Los Angeles still possesses a formidable defense and a deep defensive backfield, but any unit is shallow with the loss of a talent such as James, who has fallen upon most unfortunate times in each of the last two offseasons.
At this time a year ago, James and the Bolts were reeling at the notion of the defensive back missing an elongated amount of time in the 2019 campaign due to a stress fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his foot. It set an ominous tone for a previously hopeful season.
That same tone has seemingly been set in 2020, leaving beleaguered Bolts fans only to shake their heads at a turn of events that is shocking and familiar, all the same.
On Sunday, James clutched his right leg, clearly upset as he entered the team's medical tent. The options then were a meniscus trim that would be followed by James missing roughly a month or surgery for a full repair. It's a far more difficult fate to drink in, but with a 24-year-old player of James' caliber it is no doubt the right move in the long-term.
The short-term has collapsed from the grandeur of James' rookie campaign to the borderline unbelievable reality that when the 2020 season concludes, James will (barring a miraculous comeback) have played just five games over two seasons.
In some ways, James' woes are emblematic of his franchise's during his tenure.
In 2018, James was an All-Pro and Pro Bowler in a sensational rookie showing in which he filled up the stat sheet with 105 tackles, 13 passes defended, 3.5 sacks and three interceptions. L.A. was off to the playoffs and an appearance in the AFC Divisional Round. The future was bright in Southern California.
However, James' injury began a 2019 season for the Chargers rife with disappointment and lost opportunity.
Now, the waiting is over as it relates to the severity of James' meniscus injury. Going forward, the defensive backfield will take on the Herculean task of stepping up in James' departure, with likely candidates for the starting role left vacant being Desmond King, Alohi Gilman and Nasir Adderly.
Another season of promise has been broken before it began for James, and the Chargers are left aiming to avoid a familiar fate as last year despite Monday's deflating news.