Chargers QB Proves His Toughness

Philip Rivers Plays Through Bulging Disc In His Back

For about half the 2014 season, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers has been dealing with a rib injury. For about the last four weeks, that ailment has not been his most serious health problem.

Rivers has a bulging disc in his back, an injury he reportedly suffered in a win at Baltimore on November 30th. A bulging disc occurs when some of the thick gel in the discs between the vertebrae leaks into the cracks, causing the disc to bulge out from between the bones of the spine.

I’m not a doctor, but that sounds ridiculously painful, especially when you have 300-pound men with bad intentions trying to hit you as hard as they possibly can.

Yet, there was Rivers on Saturday night at Levi’s Stadium, leading a monster comeback win over the 49ers by throwing for 273 yards and three touchdowns, and that was just in the second half and overtime. Rivers has long been known as one of the toughest guys in the NFL, but this is taking him to almost legendary status.

But, could it jeopardize his career? Or even his long-term health? Back injuries are not the kinds of things you want to mess around with. Rivers is never going to talk about it, preferring to simply play on and lead his football team in their Week 17 showdown with the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium (In case you hadn’t heard, if the Chargers win they earn a playoff spot).

On Monday, Chargers head coach Mike McCoy was asked if Rivers was putting himself in jeopardy by continuing to play.

“If that was the case,” said McCoy, “and we didn’t think he could play this Sunday, we wouldn’t put him out there. We have plenty of medical advice, not just with Philip, with everybody in this organization, with everyone in the NFL. I think everyone’s had an injury had some form of injury before they’ve dealt with at some point in time of the year, so Philip will play on Sunday.”

McCoy, always careful when discussing injuries, also said running back Ryan Mathews (ankle), wide receiver Keenan Allen (shoulder) and offensive lineman Chris Watt (ankle, calf) could possibly return to practice this week.

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