Derwin James, the young Los Angeles Chargers safety with star potential, needs surgery on his right knee, a procedure that is expected to keep him out six to eight months and essentially would rule him out for the 2020 NFL season, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Monday.
James, 24, was injured during Sunday’s practice and later received a second opinion, which confirmed what probably would be considered a worst-case scenario.
The Chargers drafted James 17th overall out of Florida State in 2018 and watched him immediately blossom into an All-Pro strong safety. He missed the first 11 games of the 2019 season with a fracture in his right foot, but many expected James to play a starring role in an exceedingly talented Chargers defense in 2020.
Earlier in training camp, James was asked about his goals for the upcoming season and said: “Just being out there all 16 games. That’s the only goal I’m making this year. I feel like as long as I’m out there, the plays are gonna come.”
James also was limited to two games in his sophomore year of college because of a torn meniscus in his left knee.
Chargers coach Anthony Lynn didn’t go into specifics on James’ condition during Monday’s practice because the final results were not yet known. Lynn mentioned the possibility of Rayshawn Jenkins moving to strong safety and slot corner Desmond King also getting reps at that position. Lynn dismissed the possibility of adding decorated free agent Earl Thomas, but ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that there is mutual interest in a reunion between the Chargers and free safety Jahleel Addae.
The Chargers also boast Casey Hayward, Chris Harris, Michael Davis and Nasir Adderley throughout their secondary.
“I like the depth we have in our secondary,” Lynn said before the severity of James’ injury was revealed. “We have to make some different combinations, but we have some good players in that secondary.”