Hunter Henry unlikely to return for Chargers in 2018, but not ruled out

COSTA MESA, Calif. -- Philip Rivers said he's looking forward to his first action in preseason play against the Seattle Seahawks this weekend, as the Los Angeles Chargers play at the StubHub Center for the first time in 2018.

Asked how long he will play, Rivers joked that he will go four quarters -- but likely the veteran quarterback will get two series at the most on Saturday.

"It's just about executing and being efficient," River said. "No pre-snap penalties -- none of that stuff -- but there's an element of preparing, I think more so for me. I like to do it not so much as it is preparing to go win the game, but more so to get me into that in-season mode of preparing -- watching the pressures, watching the third downs, going through and studying the game play sheet.

"Just so you get back in that mode so you don't just try to turn it on in Week 1."

While Rivers will play, several others will not for the Chargers as they continue to work themselves back from injuries. They include defensive end Joey Bosa (foot), cornerback Trevor Williams (ankle), guard Forrest Lamp (knee), linebacker James Onwualu (groin), receiver Dylan Cantrell (knee), tight end Cole Hunt (knee) and defensive tackle Justin Jones (ankle).

Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said rookie linebacker Kyzir White (knee) and running back Justin Jackson (hamstring) will be game-time decisions.

Let's take a look at a question from this week's mailbag:

@eric_d_williams: You're getting your money's worth with this question.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Chargers used three wide-receiver sets on 584 snaps in 2017, which was No. 20 in the NFL. Receiver is the team's deepest position on offense, so it's likely the Chargers will run more three-receiver sets in the upcoming season.

Jahleel Addae has been tabbed to play free safety because he's the most experienced in that position group and free safety is considered one of the most important positions on the field in Gus Bradley's defense because of the responsibility that comes with the position.

Tight end Hunter Henry suffered his ACL right knee injury on May 22 and had surgery two weeks later, so he's nearly three months out from surgery.

The Arkansas product is moving pretty well on the field and has been very engaged during practice, intently studying a play-call sheet during team drills -- so that doesn't look like someone who believes their season is over.

However, most ACL injuries take nine months to a year to recover. And while Melvin Ingram was able to return to the field six months after his surgery in 2013 and play for the Chargers at the end of the year, including the playoffs, Ingram is the exception, not the norm.

All you have to do is look at how players like Jason Verrett and Lamp have struggled to come back form ACL knee surgeries to understand the risk of bringing someone back too early.

The Chargers will likely place Henry on the reserve list during final roster cuts. That leaves open the possibility of a return at the end of the year. It provides Henry with a glimmer of hope and something to push for during his arduous rehab.

However, Henry's a young player and the Chargers will have his long-term career goals in mind when they make a decision whether to bring him back at the end of the year.

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