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Report: Chargers' Derwin James Likely to Miss Significant Time with Knee Injury

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistAugust 30, 2020

Los Angeles Chargers free safety Derwin James watches during warm ups before an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)
Kelvin Kuo/Associated Press

Los Angeles Chargers star safety Derwin James will likely miss "significant time" after suffering a meniscus injury during Sunday's practice, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

The 24-year-old has emerged as a star in his two-year NFL career. He entered the league in a major way in 2018, registering 105 tackles, 3.5 sacks and three interceptions, good enough to earn him a Pro Bowl bid and a first-team All-Pro selection.

A foot injury limited James to just five games last season, but he still posted 34 tackles in his shortened season.

Expectations were justifiably high for the Florida State product entering his third year. Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus named him the No. 31 player in all of football heading into the 2020 campaign, calling him "a pioneer of the positionless role within a defense—he has made an impact all over the field for the Chargers."

Monson added: "James can defend the run, cover close to the line and in deeper zones, and even rush the passer at a high level. He could become one of the best defenders in all of football in a hurry."

That makes him uniquely difficult to replace. Nasir Adderley or Desmond King could be among the candidates to slide into James' starting safety role, although both would have rather large shoes to fill.

The more pressing issue if the injury is serious, though, is James' issues with injuries early in his career. Few players are more important for the Chargers going forward. Keeping him healthy and on the field is now one of the organization's top priorities.