COSTA MESA — The Chargers moved 80 miles north up the I-5. The injury bug may have followed them.
Rookie offensive lineman Forrest Lamp was carted off the field Wednesday with an apparent right knee injury, one that left him lying on the grass at Jack Hammett Sports Complex for several minutes.
Drafted No. 38 overall this past spring, Lamp attempted to get up on his own before being carted to the sideline. He was able to put minimal pressure on his right leg as he walked from the cart to the medical evaluation tent.
After practice, head coach Anthony Lynn said the team was still waiting for clarity on Lamp’s injury.
“He was playing so well,” Lynn said. “He was really coming along at that right guard position. I hope he’s OK, but he was playing really well today.”
This is only the latest run of bad luck for the Chargers, who ended last season with 22 players on injured reserve. That list included star receiver Keenan Allen — who is now practicing at full speed, albeit with a protective knee brace — and former Pro Bowl cornerback Jason Verrett, who could come off the active/physically unable to perform list as soon as this week. The pair made five combined appearances last fall before tearing their ACLs.
Misfortune found the team again early this offseason. No. 7 overall pick Mike Williams has been sidelined for the entire summer with a herniated disc in his lower back, and is not expected to practice during training camp. Even if his rehabilitation progresses, that missed time will make it more difficult for the former Clemson receiver to crack the starting lineup.
Lamp’s absence may be an even bigger blow. In an effort to better protect 35-year-old quarterback Philip Rivers, the Chargers focused on upgrading their offensive line this offseason — signing left tackle Russell Okung before selecting Lamp and Indiana’s Dan Feeney in the second and third rounds of the 2017 NFL draft.
The Western Kentucky product had impressed early, and earned a healthy share of first-string reps in training camp. A left tackle for the Hilltoppers, Lamp was named an All-American as a senior despite missing two games with an ankle injury. He did not allow a sack in either of his final two collegiate seasons.
Lynn said earlier this year that offensive linemen often face the steepest rookie learning curve, but he complimented Lamp’s progress Wednesday.
“He caught on pretty quick,” Lynn said of Lamp. “He was getting a lot better with his…