Marcellus Wiley, San Diego's' top defensive free-agent acquisition, has become the latest Charger casualty, suffering from a stress fracture in his left foot. The injury is expected to sideline the former Buffalo Bill a minimum of 3-4 weeks.
Wiley, who signed the biggest deal in team history, a $40 million, six-year contract, which included a $9 million signing bonus, was reportedly hurt during practice on Wednesday, but exact details were not made available.
Surgery was scheduled for Thursday, where a screw will be implanted in the foot.
"We went to practice yesterday with everybody healthy," head coach Mike Riley said. "There was nobody in the training room when practice started. At that point in the game plan, we hit it just right. Then we had an unfortunate accident."
"It's a blow, but it's not going to affect us going into this ballgame as far as our attitude."
The Chargers, who open up the 2001 season this Sunday at Qualcomm Stadium against the Washington Redskins, plan on starting Al Fontenot in Wiley's spot at defensive end. The nine-year veteran collected 59 tackles and nine sacks over the past two years with San Diego, starting in all 30 games he has played in.
"It's unfortunate that Marcellus got hurt, he's a talented young player," Fontenot told reporters. "But we'll be fine. I'm looking forward to getting back out there in the lineup with the guys and picking up the slack."
Following this week ends season opener, the Chargers have a bye-week, which gives Wiley additional time to heal. Earliest indications target a return date either against the Cincinnatti Bengals on Sept. 30 or at Cleveland against the Browns on Oct. 7.
Defensive End Marcellus Wiley out for 3-4 weeks
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