After the Los Angeles Chargers lost to the Denver Broncos 31-28 in a game that was rendered virtually meaningless when the Baltimore Ravens lost to the Cincinnati Bengals shortly beforehand, head coach Brandon Staley was criticized for playing his regulars for much of the game.
The reason: Wide receiver Mike Williams, who has already been banged up this season, suffered a back injury and had to be transported off the field in a cart.
However, according to Staley, Williams only has a contusion and should be able to return to practice within days.
Brandon Staley said Mike Williams' MRI showed no fracture or muscle injury in his back. He has a contusion, Staley said. And Staley expects Williams to return to practice at some point this week.
— Daniel Popper (@danielrpopper) January 9, 2023
When the Ravens lost prior to kickoff of L.A.’s game, it meant the team had officially clinched the fifth seed in the AFC and could not move up any further with a win.
Therefore, many felt it should’ve been a “load management” day for the Chargers’ most important players, including Williams, who finished the season with 895 receiving yards in 13 games.
He had 32 yards on four catches on Sunday before his injury cut his day short.
The Bolts will open the playoffs this coming weekend with a wild-card round contest versus the Jacksonville Jaguars, a young team that surged down the stretch by ending the season with a five-game winning streak.
But if Los Angeles is healthy, perhaps it can expose the Jaguars’ youth and lack of experience, as many of its core players have been to the playoffs before.
The team has been hit by injuries harder than perhaps any other team in the NFL this season, so to finish the schedule with a 10-7 record and a four-game winning streak just prior to Week 18 may be a mini-accomplishment in itself.