Austin Ekeler suffered an hamstring injury late in the first quarter in the Chargers’ game against the Buccaneers.
The Los Angeles running back was fighting for extra yards on the sideline before he fell and grabbed the back of his leg. The spot where Ekeler grabbed made the injury look like it affected the left hamstring, and the Chargers soon confirmed that. The team officially listed him as questionable to return.
NFL Network’s James Palmer reported trainers were “literally carrying Ekeler to the cart on the sideline.” He added that trainers “continued to work on Ekeler right next to the cart for a few minutes before then loading him into the front seat.”
The Athletic’s Daniel Popper added that Ekeler was unable to “put any weight on his left leg” and speculated the injury “doesn’t look like a mere hamstring strain.”
He was eventually carted off the field.
While he’s been officially ruled as questionable to return, it’d be surprising to see him return to this game.
Austin Ekeler injury update: How long is Chargers RB out?
Dr. David Chao, who was the Chargers’ team doctor for 17 years, said on his website he doesn’t believe this injury will force Ekeler to miss the rest of the season. Chao guesses this is a “significant left hamstring strain/tear” that will not end his season, but says Ekeler “will likely need an IR stint.”
Chao’s opinion is speculative, and we’ll update this post when more official information becomes available.
Chargers depth chart: Who starts behind Austin Ekeler?
The Chargers will now mostly rely on Justin Jackson and fourth-round draft pick Joshua Kelley if Ekeler is going to miss any time. Jackson has been with the team since 2018 and has performed well in his limited playing time. Kelley has been used heavily throughout his rookie season, seeing 25 touches in Week 2 alone.
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