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Report: Chargers' Mike Williams Suffers 'Minor' Back Injury; X-Rays Negative

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 9, 2023

DENVER, COLORADO - JANUARY 08: Trainers assist Mike Williams #81 of the Los Angeles Chargers off the field during the first half against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field At Mile High on January 08, 2023 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley chose to play his team's starters during Sunday's loss to the Denver Broncos even though his squad was locked into its playoff spot, and it was a costly move.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported wide receiver Mike Williams suffered a lower back injury that will require additional testing Monday after initial X-rays were negative.

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler provided a positive update:

Jeremy Fowler @JFowlerESPN

Sources describe Chargers WR Mike Williams' back injury as minor, believed to have suffered a spasm. X-ray was negative. 'He'll be OK,' a source said.

Williams posted four catches for 32 yards in the 31-28 loss before exiting with the ailment.

Daniel Popper of The Athletic reported the wide receiver "could not walk on his own" after the game and was even helped to the bus from the locker room. That is a concerning development regardless of the situation, but the reality that Sunday's game couldn't change the Chargers' spot as the No. 5 seed surely makes it all the more difficult to accept.

Durability at the wide receiver spot was a concern for the Chargers this season, with Williams (ankle) and Keenan Allen (hamstring) each missing time, and they are now dealing with more injury concerns heading into the postseason.

Williams finished the regular season with 63 catches for 895 yards and four touchdowns after he surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for the second time in his career in 2021.

Los Angeles will travel to face the Jacksonville Jaguars on the road. While the Chargers finished with a better record at 10-7 compared to the Jaguars' 9-8 mark, the game will be in Jacksonville because the hosts are AFC South champions.

Not having Williams on the field would allow the Jaguars to devote more defensive attention toward slowing down Allen and Austin Ekeler without having to worry about the Clemson product beating them on deep balls in single coverage.

Joshua Palmer will likely see more playing time for the Chargers if Williams cannot take the field.