Los Angeles Chargers star safety Derwin James
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Chargers safety Derwin James, one of the NFL’s best defensive backs, will miss the entire 2020 season after being placed on injured reserve.

James, who became a first-team All-Pro in his rookie season, will miss the entire year after tearing his meniscus during Sunday practice.

Chargers place Derwin James on injured reserve

Coming into the season, the Chargers were expected to boast one of the best defenses in the NFL. A loaded secondary paired with a fierce pass rush provided Los Angeles with the recipe to create havoc, but that was before James’ injury on Sunday.

Just two weeks before the Chargers are set to kick off their 2020 schedule in Week 1 against the Cincinnati Bengals, James limped off the practice field with a leg injury. Further testing revealed that the 24-year-old safety suffered a torn meniscus and he would need season-ending surgery.

James underwent surgery on Tuesday to repair the torn cartilage in his right knee, the team announced. He’s expected to need six-to-eight months to make a full recovery, putting him on track for a return before the 2021 NFL season.

Unfortunately, it’s the second major injury in three years since being selected with the No. 17 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. James fractured his foot in August 2019, causing him to miss 11 games. Even when he returned, he wasn’t the same playmaker in the secondary.

The Chargers do boast quality depth at defensive back. With James sidelined for the entire season, cornerback Desmond King could take on a more prominent role. He earned first-team All-Pro honors as a slot corner in 2018, but wasn’t as effective this past year.

Los Angeles could also give Nasir Adderley, its second-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, a shot to shine. James will be missed in this secondary, but the Chargers can still count on lockdown corners Chris Harris Jr. and Casey Hayward to make plays.