Kelley hasn’t fared well as the starter. After picking up 91 yards as RB2 in Week 1, he has just 51 rushing yards since then and is getting them at a 2.1 YPC average. Last week against the Vikings, Kelley had 11 carries for 12 yards.
Kelley Will Have To Step Up In Third Consecutive Start
He’ll have some time to heal up. The Chargers have a bye coming up in Week 5, which would give Ekeler yet another two weeks of rest before returning to action. Los Angeles faces a tough couple of matchups when they return to action, with games against the Cowboys and Chiefs on the horizon in Weeks 6 and 7.
The Los Angeles Chargers picked up a win to salvage their season last week, defeating the Vikings on the road in a hard fought contest. They’ll face off against a division opponent this weekend when the Raiders come to town, and they might be without their star running back for the third straight game.
Chargers Could Be Without Ekeler Yet Again
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) September 29, 2023
The team has a bye week on Week 5, so he’ll probably just use the extra rest to return 100% healthy. pic.twitter.com/r4WzDAYfyG
The hope is that the running game can start to pick things up against Las Vegas. The Raiders have the 21st ranked rushing defense so far in 2023, and the Chargers should look to use a balanced attack that includes plenty of touches for Kelley and the other backs on the Chargers roster.
Austin Ekeler suffered a high ankle sprain in the Chargers opening week loss to the Dolphins. He was considered week-to-week but hasn’t played since, and a bulk of the carries have gone to back up Joshua Kelley so far in 2023. Ekeler returned to practice on Wednesday for the first time since the injury, participating in individual drills which included bouncing up and down on the ailing ankle.
Edge Joey Bosa didn’t practice and is listed as questionable for Sunday.
The news was not as positive when the final injury report was released for Los Angeles on Friday. Ekeler is officially listed as doubtful, meaning that Kelley is likely in line for yet another start.
— Kris Rhim (@krisrhim1) September 29, 2023
The Chargers are currently listed at 4.5 point favorites over the Raiders this Sunday.
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RB Austin Ekeler was limited today and he will be listed as doubtful for Sunday. S Derwin James didn’t practice today and is listed as doubtful.
Ekeler is a key piece to Los Angeles’ offensive attack. He has scored 38 touchdowns over the past two seasons, and is one of the best dual-threat backs in the entire NFL. He has been durable up until this season, missing back-to-back games for the first time since 2020 and the third time ever.