The Los Angeles Chargers are hopeful their leading running back can return from a knee injury sooner than later. After Melvin Gordon went down in Week 12, there was an obvious concern for his outlook moving forward. Fortunately, the injury proved to be an MCL sprain, which is far better than what it originally seemed.
With Gordon sidelined in Week 13, the Chargers were still able to pull out a crucial win over the Pittsburgh Steelers which may have major playoff implications. And while his outlook moving forward is improving, there’s a very real chance he may miss Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Gordon, who’s totaled 1,255 rushing and receiving yards, along with 13 touchdowns, is averaging an impressive 5.2 yards per carry this season. Although the Chargers sit at 9-3 and in a great position to make the postseason, having their lead back for the homestretch will be crucial. Let’s take a look at the most recent updates on his status as the weekend approaches.
Gordon Misses Practice, Chargers Coach Provides Optimism
While Gordon was a no-go at practice both Wednesday and Thursday, it wasn’t all bad news. Gordon’s outlook for Week 14 and beyond comes down to his own rehab and healing, but Chargers coach Anthony Lynn gave an update of sorts on Thursday. As NFL.com’s Kevin Patra revealed, Lynn joined NFL Network’s Good Morning Football and called the running back’s return this week “possible.”
“It’s possible. You never know. You never know,” he said when asked if Gordon would play Sunday. “You just want everybody preparing for everybody.”
Even if Gordon proves unable to play against the Bengals, the fact that he’s close enough to have a chance is a big deal. Knee injuries can linger over multiple weeks, and while the Chargers obviously want their lead back on the field sooner than later, they also shouldn’t rush him back.
After sitting out both Wednesday and Thursday, he was also sidelined during Friday’s practice as well. Shortly after, ESPN’s Field Yates revealed that Gordon will not play in Week 14. In turn, both Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson should see a fair amount of work in the matchup.
On Sunday morning, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport provided a positive outlook on Gordon’s outlook beyond Week 14, though. As he revealed, Gordon could return for the Chargers in Week 15 on Thursday Night Football.
Chargers in Good Spot to Play It Safe
Gordon’s return will help the Chargers make a continued push on the Kansas City Chiefs for the top spot in the AFC West, as they’re currently one game back. But with a crucial Week 15 game between the two teams on the horizon, the Chargers may be wise to let Gordon rest one more week before bringing him back, assuming he’s healthy enough to go.
Losing to the Bengals would unquestionably hurt their push for the division title, but Gordon’s health is at the forefront here. The Chargers have a big edge in the Wild Card race, sitting two games ahead of the current No. 6 seed Baltimore Ravens. They’re also three games ahead of the first group of teams who are on the outside looking in.
The focus for the Chargers needs to remain on the big picture as opposed to just one game. Although Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson were up-and-down against the Steelers, both running backs have the upside and talent to hold down the fort for one more week.