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Chargers QB Justin Herbert will miss rest of season after undergoing surgery on broken finger

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert, center, walks on the sidelines after an injury with his hand in his hoodie pocket during the second half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert, center, walks on the sidelines after an injury with his hand in his hoodie pocket during the second half of an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ryan )

BY JOE REEDY contributing

COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — Justin Herbert will undergo surgery on Tuesday on his broken index finger on his right hand and will miss the Los Angeles Chargers’ remaining four games this season.

Herbert visited two hand specialists on Monday after he suffered the injury during the second quarter of Los Angeles’ 24-7 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

“He is tough as they come, but we’re going to make sure that, whatever it is, we’re going to do what is best for Justin, long term,” coach Brandon Staley said on Monday.

Herbert is the seventh starting quarterback in the league to be lost for the season because of an injury if the Jets’ Aaron Rodgers does not return from his torn Achilles tendon. That includes the top two QBs who signed extensions during the preseason.

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Herbert signed a $252.5 million extension on the first day of training camp and Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow inked a five-year extension worth $275 million three days before the start of the regular season.

Easton Stick will get his first NFL start on Thursday night at Las Vegas against the Raiders. The Chargers are 5-8 and have dropped four of their past five.

Stick will be only the fourth Chargers starting quarterback since 2006, which is tied with Tampa Bay and Philadelphia for second fewest in that span.

Green Bay and Seattle have had only three starting QBs in the past 18 seasons.

Herbert, the sixth overall pick in the 2020 draft, had been durable in his career, with 62 consecutive regular-season starts. He has played through a broken finger on his non-throwing hand earlier this season and fractured rib cartilage last season.

Max Duggan, who was selected in the seventh round of April’s draft, will be called up from the practice squad to be Stick’s backup once Herbert is placed on injured reserve.

Herbert is the third significant member of the Chargers’ offense who has been lost for the season. Wide receiver Mike Williams suffered a knee injury in Week 3 at Minnesota and center Corey Linsley played in only three games before being sidelined because of a heart-related issue.

Wide receiver Joshua Palmer, who started in Williams’ place, has missed the past six games because of a knee injury. Alex Erickson, who spent training camp with the New York Jets, got his second start of the season Sunday.

The offseason hiring of Kellen Moore as offensive coordinator has not provided the spark many thought would happen. Los Angeles is in the midst of one of its worst offensive stretches of the season with only three touchdowns in the past 14 quarters.

The Chargers are ranked 17th in total offense. They are on pace for their lowest ranking since they were 18th in 2014.