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SAN DIEGO -- Chargers defensive end Jarret Johnson suffered a hand injury against Miami last week that required surgery and he will be out indefinitely, coach Mike McCoy confirmed after practice Thursday.
McCoy would not say if Johnson was done for the season, and the team has not placed him on injured reserve.
"He had the procedure done on Monday," McCoy said. "He'll be back out there when we get him back out."
Johnson already missed three games earlier this season due to a hamstring issue. His absence creates a greater void at a position where San Diego already has experienced depth issues, with Dwight Freeney (torn quad) and Larry English (torn pectoral muscle) out for the season.
McCoy will have to rely on young players like Tourek Williams, Thomas Keiser and Reggie Walker to fill in for Johnson, and hope that Melvin Ingram can show he's ready enough during practice to help the team on Sunday.
Johnson, 32, is the second year of a four-year, $19 million deal with the Chargers, which includes $10 million in guaranteed money. But Johnson's base salary of $4 million next season is not guaranteed, raising the question of whether San Diego will bring back the 11-year veteran on a team clearly in rebuilding mode and looking to add younger talent.
In seven games, Johnson has 21 tackles, five quarterback hits and is tied for the team lead in sacks with three. Along with Johnson, receiver Eddie Royal (toe), left tackle King Dunlap (neck) and cornerback Johnny Patrick (concussion) missed practice on Thursday.
Center Nick Hardwick (neck) and receiver Vincent Brown (shoulder) were limited participants. Safety Jahleel Addae (ankle), receiver Keenan Allen (knee), running back Ryan Mathews (hamstring) and linebacker Manti Te'o (elbow) were full participants.