Concern inside the Los Angeles Chargers organization grew on Wednesday when lead running back Austin Ekeler missed a day of practice with an apparent hamstring injury. Those fears only got worse on Thursday.
Ekeler sat out another day of practice this afternoon, according to Daniel Popper of The Athletic. He was present at the Chargers’ workout, and even wore his helmet and pads, but did not take part in any drills.
Ekeler’s involvement, or lack thereof, significantly drops his chances of playing on Sunday against the Washington Football Team. That’s a major blow for both the 26-year-old, who was poised for a breakout year, and the Chargers, who were planning to rely heavily on the ballcarrier in their offense.
If Ekeler can’t suit up, first-year head coach Brandon Staley may need to adjust his gameplan to rely more heavily on reigning Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert.
— Daniel Popper (@danielrpopper) September 9, 2021
Ekeler signed a four-year, $24.5 million contract with the Chargers prior to the start of the 2020 season after a strong start to his NFL career with the organization. He battled injuries last year, but still racked up 530 rushing yards and 403 receiving yards, along with three touchdowns.
As of Thursday evening, the Chargers haven’t officially ruled out Ekeler, despite his lingering hamstring injury. If the team does need to let its starting running back sit, Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley will be poised to take the majority of snaps in the backfield.
The Chargers are set to take on the Washington Football Team at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday. Time will tell if Ekeler can suit up for Los Angeles before kick-off.
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