Chargers optimistic Joey Bosa, Rashawn Slater could return this season

COSTA MESA, Calif. -- Los Angeles Chargers coach Brandon Staley expressed optimism Monday that edge rusher Joey Bosa and left tackle Rashawn Slater could return from injured reserve this season, providing a potential boost for a playoff run.

Following a Week 3 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Bosa underwent surgery to repair a groin tear and Slater underwent surgery on a torn left biceps tendon.

"Individual workouts going better," Staley said of Bosa, who spent time away from the team rehabilitating the injury but has since returned and was on the sideline for Sunday's 23-17 victory over the Miami Dolphins. "In terms of opening up that [return] window, that's still kind of in motion."

The Chargers are 7-6 and clinging to the No. 7 seed in the AFC, a position that could quickly change depending on a Week 14 "Monday Night Football" matchup between the New England Patriots and Arizona Cardinals. A Patriots win would move New England into the No. 7 spot.

Staley has avoided providing a timeline for Bosa's return and also would not commit to a timeline for Slater; however, he made it clear that Slater's timeline "is definitely not the same as Joey Bosa."

"He's rehabilitating in our facility and doing well," Staley said of Slater. "I'm a pretty optimistic person in general, but he's given me pretty good reason to be optimistic. He's healing well."

When asked to clarify if Slater could return in the regular season, Staley said, "It's not impossible, that's for sure."

At the outset of the season, the Chargers expected to field one of the best pass-rushing duos in the NFL between Bosa and Khalil Mack. In three games together, Mack recorded four sacks and has since produced only three more sacks.

With the absence of Bosa, as well as cornerback J.C. Jackson and defensive lineman Austin Johnson -- both of whom are also on injured reserve -- the Bolts' defense ranks No. 28 in the NFL, allowing 25 points per game.

Rookie Jamaree Salyer, a sixth-round draft pick from Georgia, has started 10 games in the absence of Slater, who earned Pro Bowl recognition as a rookie last season.

Slater's potential return could provide a significant boost for an offensive line that has dealt with numerous injuries throughout the season, ranks 21st in the NFL with a 56% pass-block win rate, and has allowed quarterback Justin Herbert to be sacked 18 times over the past four games.