SAN DIEGO (AP) - Nate Kaeding, who entered the season as the most accurate kicker in NFL history, is out for the year after injuring his left knee during the season's opening kickoff.
Kaeding is believed to have torn his anterior cruciate ligament. Coach Norv Turner said only that the kicker tore ligaments and would have surgery.
Kaeding was hurt trying to tackle Minnesota's Percy Harvin, who returned the opening kickoff 103 yards for a touchdown on Sunday.
"He planted and he kind of got spread out," Turner said Monday. "There was no contact on the play."
Kaeding came into the season having made 86.5 percent of his field goal attempts, 173 of 200, in the previous seven seasons.
"Nate's unbelievable how good he's been and we'll get someone hopefully who can be as accurate," Turner said.
The coach said the Chargers have a list of possible replacements and will have tryouts on Tuesday. One of those scheduled to come in is veteran Nick Novak, who was in camp with the Chargers in 2010.
Punter Mike Scifres took over placekicking duties after Kaeding was hurt and made his first NFL field goal, a 40-yarder, as the Chargers rallied from a 17-7 halftime deficit to win 24-17.
The Chargers took Kaeding in the third round of the 2004 draft with one of the picks they obtained along with Philip Rivers from the New York Giants for Eli Manning.
"You're talking about one of the most accurate kickers in the game," Rivers said. "Again, a comfort level, too. Not only he makes almost every one of them, it's comforting knowing who's going out there to kick them for seven straight years. It's definitely a loss. Whoever it is who comes in here, you've got to develop a trust in them, a belief in them, and go.
"You certainly hate to lose Nate, but the kicker who's called on, we'll expect a lot from them," Rivers said.
As accurate as Kaeding was in the regular season, he made only 8 of 15 field goal attempts (53.3) in eight career playoff games. He missed three attempts in the Chargers' most recent playoff game, a 17-14 home loss to the New York Jets after the 2009 season.
As a rookie, Kaeding was wide right from 40 yards on a wet field in overtime in a home playoff game against New York following the 2004 season. The Jets moved down the field and won it 20-17 on Doug Brien's 28-yard field goal.
Kaeding's four field goals provided all the points for the Chargers in a 21-12 loss at New England in the AFC championship game following the 2007 season.
The Chargers visit the Patriots on Sunday.
Turner said the Chargers are "continuing to evaluate" defensive end Luis Castillo's injured left leg. The Chargers announced during Sunday's game that Castillo injured his knee. It's believed he has a broken tibia.