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Chargers tight end Hunter Henry placed on IR

The Los Angeles Chargers saw their playoff odds take a significant hit after falling to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 15. Now, heading into their must-win matchup against the New York Jets, the Chargers will take the field without one of their key pieces in the passing game as second-year tight end Hunter Henry was placed on season-ending injured reserve today, according to Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network.

Henry is dealing with a minor laceration of his kidney that he suffered during Saturday’s game against the Chiefs. On Monday, head coach Anthony Lynn said he was uncertain about Henry’s status for the last two regular-season games. Wide receiver Keenan Allen dealt with the same injury back in the 2015 campaign, forcing him to miss the rest of that season.

Henry took over the bulk of the snaps at the position over former Pro Bowler Antonio Gates this season, posting career highs of 46 catches, 579 receiving yards, and four touchdowns. As a direct result, Gates’ production has dropped off significantly this season, as he currently sits at 20 catches for 189 receiving and two touchdowns through 14 games.

The 23-year-old’s absence will likely push Gates back into the fold as the primary receiving option at tight end, while putting an increased importance reliance on getting Allen more heavily involved in the passing game.