The Los Angeles Chargers are dealing with a pair of high-profile injuries, as safety Derwin James and receiver Keenan Allen are sidelined.
The Chargers have Super Bowl hopes. They’ll need Keenan Allen and Derwin James to realize them.
The bad news? Both stars are currently out with injuries. The good news? Allen is expected to recover from his ankle injury by Week 1. As for James, it’s uncertain exactly what’s wrong, although he’s wearing a walking boot at Friday’s joint practice with the New Orleans Saints.
If James has to miss any time come the regular season, it would be an enormous blow to the Chargers. Los Angeles selected Nasir Adderley in the second round of April’s draft to pair with James, although it’s uncertain how much he’ll contribute after being slowed by injuries in May. The corners are solid in Desmond King and Casey Hayward, but the loss of James would be crushing in covering tight ends, helping in run support and blitzing.
As for Allen, his ankle problem shouldn’t linger into September. If it does, quarterback Philip Rivers would suddenly be throwing to third-year man Mike Williams and not much else on the perimeter. Opposing defenses would certainly roll coverage over the top of Williams, forcing Rivers to throw for Travis Benjamin and tight end Hunter Henry.
Of course, there’s also the looming specter of running back Melvin Gordon’s holdout. Without Gordon, the Chargers will rely on Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson. Both are capable –especially the more proven Ekeler — but neither has ever needed to be the featured back.
Everything may still turn out fine for Los Angeles. James’ boot could be precautionary and the Allen may return for the season opener and shine. Still, it’s a tough situation in mid-August, and the Chargers attempt to win their first AFC West title since 2009.