Chargers' Brandon Staley praises Justin Herbert's leadership as QB plays through rib injury

Among the many injuries the Los Angeles Chargers have dealt with this season is Justin Herbert's fractured rib cartilage. The quarterback was injured during the team's Week 2 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, but has continued to play through it.

"It's getting better," Herbert said after leading the Chargers to a 34-24 victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday. "Thankful for the offensive line for keeping me upright."

But, Chargers head coach Brandon Staley said it was tough to manage the "unknown" surrounding how Herbert felt last week, and his availability is still "day-to-day."

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"I'm not going to speak for Justin specifically, but I can tell you that he had a good rhythm in practice last week," Staley said during a news conference Monday. "I think him being able to practice and get the requisite reps to really feel your best, you're truly prepared to go out there and play."

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert drops back against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half of an NFL football game in Inglewood, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert drops back against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half of an NFL football game in Inglewood, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Herbert had 340 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions against the Texans. However, Staley saw much more on the field than stats. He applauded Herbert's leadership, calling it "beautiful" and "at a really high level."

"I thought that he affected his teammates as well as I've seen him, since I've been the head coach," Staley said.

After the game, Herbert heaped praise on his teammates, calling them the resilient ones.

"I think we've dealt with a lot of adversity, and I thought we've handled that pretty well," he said. "It's a long season and to lose a couple guys here and there and to be able to replace them and have some guys that maybe weren't expecting to play a ton, make some huge plays in some big-time games, that's great to see."

Earlier this year, the Chargers placed linebacker Joey Bosa and tackle Rashawn Slater on injured reserve. Staley said he's hopeful both will return before the end of the season, especially Bosa. Wide receiver Keenan Allen remains day-to-day with a hamstring injury.

Herbert will be three weeks removed from his injury heading into Week 5. The Chargers will get a tough road test against the Cleveland Browns at 1 p.m. ET Sunday at First Energy Stadium.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Chargers QB Justin Herbert's rib injury hasn't slowed his leadership