Chargers running back Melvin Gordon, nursing a sprained right knee, says it will be a game-time decision whether he can play in Thursday’s highly anticipated AFC West showdown against the Chiefs.
Making matters worse, fellow running back Austin Ekeler has a neck injury and remained in the concussion protocol on Tuesday.
Coach Anthony Lynn told NFL Media he’s “not optimistic” that either will be healthy enough to play the Chiefs due to their short week.
However, Gordon, who has missed two games with the knee injury he suffered against the Cardinals, is a bit more hopeful.
“I’ve been grinding hard to get back and we’re still trying to decide what we’re going to do,” Gordon said Tuesday (via ESPN.com). “I know Coach is trying to be careful and doesn’t want me to further hurt myself or things like that. So we’ll see where that goes, but I’m a lot stronger and more confident than I was last week.”
Rookie running backs Justin Jackson and Detrez Newsome likely will fill the workload if either Gordon or Ekeler or both can’t play.
Gordon has rushed for 802 yards and nine touchdowns this season, while Ekeler has run for 496 yards and two touchdowns.
The timing couldn’t be worse, since the Chiefs (11-2) have the best record in the AFC. The Chargers (10-3) are one game behind and this matchup could go a long way to determining which team has home-field advantage through the playoffs.