The Los Angeles Chargers are taking a hit this weekend as they look to get into the win column for the first time this season.
Star running back Austin Ekeler has been ruled out with an ankle injury he suffered on Sunday.
The back-to-back touchdowns leader did not practice all week, foreshadowing his status for this weekend.
Ekeler’s presence will surely be missed, as he picked up right where he left off last season in the Chargers’ season opener against the Miami Dolphins. He ran for 117 yards and a touchdown while also catching four passes for 47 yards.
The 28-year-old led the NFL with 18 touchdowns (13 rushing, five receiving) last year, setting career-highs in rushing yards (915), receptions (107), and receiving yards (722). In 2021, his 20 touchdowns (12 rushing, eight through the air) also led the league.
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Joshua Kelley will slide into the top spot.
“It’s a great challenge. It’s exciting, because as a competitor, especially someone who’s a part of the run game, because you get to see what it is about,” Kelley said earlier this week. “It’s going to be exciting, because when you get your opportunities, you have got to make the most of it.”
L.A. still has Justin Herbert, Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, and also drafted Quentin Johnston out of TCU in the first-round. Johnston figures to one day be a huge playmaker for Herbert.
The Chargers dropped their Week 1 matchup to the Dolphins, 36-34, but their defense will have less of a challenge in facing the Tennessee Titans, who lost 16-15 to the New Orleans Saints. However, Tennessee did have the NFL’s top rushing defense last year.
Los Angeles are looking to avoid their first 0-2 start since 2017.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.