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Loss of Jamal Williams hurts Chargers badly

The news that Chargers nose tackle Jamal Williams was placed on injured reserve caught the NFL off guard on Saturday. Williams had been listed on the injury report as questionable with an elbow injury.

As it turned out, he has a torn triceps.

And as one league source explained it to us Saturday night, a torn triceps requires surgery -- and the recovery time is typically 12-16 weeks.

The source also pointed out that the delayed announcement of the injury shouldn’t be regarded as an effort by the Chargers to dupe the Ravens into spending the week preparing a game plan premised on Williams being available. Sometimes, the extent of the injury isn’t immediately apparent. Also, there’s a chance that Williams suffered further injury while practicing on Thursday.

Either way, the Chargers are now in big trouble. In a 3-4 defense, the nose tackle is one of the most important players. And with Travis Johnson (a 4-3 defensive tackle in Houston who is listed as both an end and a tackle in San Diego) out for today’s game, the Chargers will have to rely on Ogemdi Nwagbuo, who joined the team in 2008 as an undrafted free agent from Michigan State.

Nwagbuo, a 6'4", 303-pounder, had three tackles and a sack on Monday night against the Raiders.

Maybe Nwagbuo can get it done. Regardless, he’s suddenly one of the most important players on the team.