Los Angeles Chargers QB Justin Herbert suffers right index fracture vs. Denver Broncos

INGLEWOOD, Calif. — It’s gone from bad to worse for the Los Angeles Chargers.

Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert suffered a right index fracture in the first half of the team’s 24-7 loss the Denver Broncos and didn’t return.

Chargers coach Brandon Staley said Herbert's prognosis for the rest of the season is "to be determined." The quarterback is scheduled to undergo further testing to find out how long he'll be sidelined.

The Chargers have a quick turnaround in Week 15. Los Angeles travels to Las Vegas to face the Raiders on Thursday night.

Herbert injured his right index finger in second quarter when he was knocked to the ground by Broncos defensive end Zach Allen after completing a pass to tight end Donald Parham. After the Chargers turned the ball over on downs in the same series, Herbert was checked out by the team's medical staff before exiting to the locker room.

Chargers QB Justin Herbert is hit by Broncos LB Alex Singleton during the first half at SoFi Stadium.
Chargers QB Justin Herbert is hit by Broncos LB Alex Singleton during the first half at SoFi Stadium.

Chargers backup quarterback Easton Stick replaced Herbert during the team’s next series.

Herbert left the game after completing 9 of 17 passes for 96 yards with one interception and no touchdowns. He was also sacked four times.

The Chargers initially deemed Herbert as questionable to return late in the second quarter, but downgraded the star quarterback to "out" after halftime. Herbert watched the entire second half in street clothes with his right hand tucked inside the front pocket of his hoodie.

Herbert’s injury headlined a disappointing game for the quarterback and the Chargers. Herbert started the game 1 of 6 passing and tossed an interception that led to a Broncos touchdown.

The game predictably spiraled in the wrong direction for the Chargers after Herbert's injury. Los Angeles trailed 10-0 at halftime and faced a 17-0 deficit entering the fourth quarter. The Chargers went 0-for-12 on third downs and 1-for-6 on fourth downs in the defeat.

"It's tough. You feel bad for hanging the team out like that," Herbert said. "You never want to be taken out of the game."

The loss dropped the Chargers to 5-8 on the season and put a devastating blow to their already slim playoff hopes.

"It's tough. (Justin Herbert) is the heartbeat to our team," Chargers safety Derwin James said. "He means a lot to our team. It's tough when he went down for sure."

Herbert's started every game for the Chargers since Week 2 over the 2020 season. The Chargers now face the very real possibility of being without their franchise quarterback as they limp toward the finish line of the regular season.

Follow USA TODAY Sports' Tyler Dragon on X @TheTylerDragon.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Justin Herbert fractures finger as Chargers QB sidelined vs. Broncos