I spoke to San Diego Chargers kicker Nate Kaeding of Iowa on Wednesday, and he said the groin injury that kept him out of the Chargers' game at Kansas City last Sunday was "more a hiccup."
Monday, Chargers Coach Norv Turner said " I would not anticipate him kicking for a while.” But the next day, Turner said he didn't think the injury was severe enough to put Kaeding on injured reserve, effectively ending the player's season prematurely for a second-straight season.
Kaeding, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, injured his right groin in last Friday's practice.
"It's the main trigger in my kicking motion," he said. "It kind of rendered me unable to do the job for the time being."
He had been doing the job, all right. Kaeding was 7-of-7 in field goals and eight of his 16 kickoffs ended up being touchbacks.
Kaeding has been in the training room this week. "I've been rehabbing all day long," he said," "trying to jump-start the muscle."
He said he didn't yet know if he would be physically fit to perform for the Chargers in their game at New Orleans Sunday.
"I've learned along that way that once something happens, it happens," he said. "You deal with it and move on."
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San Diego needed an emergency kicker, and turned to Nick Novak, who hit on field goals of 27, 45 and 47 yards in San Diego's 37-20 win over the Chiefs.
Novak replaced Kaeding last season after Kaeding tore an ACL in the first game of the season. The two battled for the team's kicking job in training camp, and 9-year veteran Kaeding emerged with his employment intact. Novak has played for four NFL teams.
Seldom do NFL teams carry two placekickers on their active rosters for any sustained period of time. But Kaeding has been such a stalwart in San Diego (180-of-207 in career field goals for 87 percent), that you would assume the team gives him at least another week for the chance to get well enough to compete for his job.
By the way, Kaeding plans on penning another essay for the Hlog this week. He told me his theme. It's Iowa-related and sounds thought-provoking, so check back here later in the week for that.