The Los Angeles Chargers have confirmed details about an extraordinary incident that saw their team doctor wipe out their star quarterback, after a pain-killing injection went horribly wrong.
Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn elaborated on the freak accident after the circumstances around Tyrod Taylor's injury came to light.
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Having spoken earlier in the week, Lynn addressed the situation again on Wednesday, this time with the public now aware of exactly what happened to the Chargers quarterback.
Taylor was a late scratch with what was described as a chest injury, and Lynn revealed postgame that he had to be hospitalised.
NFL Network reported on Monday that that “chest injury” was actually a result of complications from a pregame injection.
However, news broke Wednesday morning with a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the team doctor punctured Taylor’s lung with a pain management injection prior to Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
In what Yahoo Sports' Jason Owens described as a "full-blown fiasco," the coach threw his support behind the team doctor at the centre of the embarrassing incident.
"I’m not angry at all," Lynn said.
"No one's perfect... The doctor is a good man. It's just unfortunate."
Lynn is in the position of having to navigate a minefield through no fault of his own, with concerns around Taylor's health coupled with managing a very precarious quarterback situation with legal implications and the long-term trajectory of the team in play.
Herbert to start Sunday vs. Panthers
Rookie quarterback and presumed future of the franchise Justin Herbert dazzled in his unexpected debut in Taylor’s absence on Sunday.
He looks ready to take the reins and will start again on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.
Lynn confirmed the expected on Wednesday, announcing Herbert as the starter this week with Taylor not ready to go.
The coach told reporters that the team isn’t planning to place Taylor on injured reserve and reiterated his stance that Taylor will remain the starter once he’s cleared to play.
"You never wanna see a guy lose his job this way," Lynn said.
It’s a different tone than Lynn took when managing the information prior to the news about Taylor’s punctured lung went public.
On Monday, Lynn put his stance on keeping Taylor as the starter on Herbert not being ready, flying in the face of what was obvious to everyone who watched Sunday’s game.
“There's a lot we didn't get done with Justin on the field yesterday,” Lynn said after the game. “He's a backup for a reason.
“It’s not like we won the damn game yesterday. We lost.”
Taylor a leader in Chargers locker room
Taylor, a team captain, is obviously well-liked in the Chargers locker room and has the respect of his teammates and coaching staff.
Lynn said that Taylor played in Week 1 with the rib injury that required the Week 2 pain injection without complaint and has been working with Herbert to get him ready to start this week.
“He’s been real professional about it,” Lynn said.
All that makes this even more difficult for Lynn.
Would Lynn really bench a successful Herbert?
Lynn’s right. You don’t ever want to see a guy lose his job like this. But if Herbert expands on the promise he showed in Sunday’s game against the Chiefs next week and beyond, what’s Lynn going to do, return a star rookie quarterback to the bench?
Taylor, a 31-year-old journeyman, was never the answer here. Herbert is the guy. He’s the quarterback with the first-round pedigree expected to be the long-term replacement for Philip Rivers. Once the Chargers drafted Herbert, Taylor’s role became that of a placeholder.
At the same time, what happened to Taylor’s health and potentially his career because of medical negligence is unfortunate.
These two conflicting realities exist in the same space. Lynn for now is publicly backing a well-liked quarterback put in a terrible situation. But at some point, this scenario’s going to require a painful decision one way or the other.
with Yahoo Sports US