Mike Williams' Back Injury Diagnosed as Contusion; Chargers WR to Practice This Week

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured 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 star Mike Williams appears to have avoided a serious injury in Sunday's 31-28 loss to the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High.

Head coach Brandon Staley told reporters Monday that Williams only has a contusion in his back and didn't suffer any fracture or significant muscle-related issue.

Staley is expecting to have the wide receiver back at practice ahead of Saturday's AFC Wild Card Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field.

Some fans were expecting the worst when Williams was carted back to the locker room Sunday after logging 25 offensive snaps.

His injury placed further scrutiny on Staley for leaning on the Chargers' starters in what was a meaningless game.

Ross Tucker @RossTuckerNFL

Chargers are:<br><br>-Playing their starters<br>-Getting guys like Mike Williams hurt<br>-Losing<br><br>Brandon Staley out here hitting for the cycle.

Matt Verderame @MattVerderame

The Chargers, playing for absolutely nothing, are putting all their starters out there and now have had Joey Bosa and Mike Williams leave injured (extent remains unknown). <br><br>Just indefensible nonsense.

Los Angeles was assured of the fifth seed in the AFC before it kicked things off against Denver. Resting the team's best players altogether or limiting them to a series or two ahead of the playoffs would've been a sensible decision.

At least the Chargers dodged a bullet with Williams.

The 28-year-old caught 63 passes for 895 yards and four touchdowns during 13 appearances in the regular season. Football Outsiders ranked him 18th in DYAR among wideouts with 50 or more targets.

The Chargers' earlier meeting with the Jaguars didn't go well. Jacksonville was a 38-10 winner on the road after piling up 413 yards and forcing two turnovers.

The Jags immediately went on a five-game losing streak after that, but they're heading into the postseason on a five-game winning streak. The AFC South champions won't be pushovers in the opening round.

Especially if Trevor Lawrence repeats his Week 3 showing (28-of-39, 262 yards, three touchdowns), the Chargers will require Williams' services through the air to help keep pace.