Report: Chargers' Mike Williams Has 'Outside Shot' at Return for Divisional Round

Adam WellsJanuary 14, 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

The Los Angeles Chargers aren't giving up hope that wide receiver Mike Williams can play in the AFC Divisional Round if they defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday night.

Per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport (starts at :44 mark), Williams has an "outside shot" to play next week if the Chargers advance.

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

The <a href="https://twitter.com/NFLGameDay?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLGameDay</a> Notebook with <a href="https://twitter.com/MikeGarafolo?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MikeGarafolo</a> &amp; <a href="https://twitter.com/TomPelissero?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TomPelissero</a>: Playing <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Chargers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Chargers</a> WR Mike Williams and others was an organizational decision; <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Rams?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Rams</a> coach Sean McVay is back and could add Mike LaFleur; A big week for Sean Payton; Jim Harbaugh is a strong candidate for the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Broncos?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Broncos</a>. <a href="https://t.co/1AYji6SyYo">pic.twitter.com/1AYji6SyYo</a>

ESPN's Lindsey Thiry reported Friday that Williams has a "small, nonsurgical fracture" in his back that is expected to keep him out for two to three weeks.

The reported timeline meant Williams' season was likely over, unless the Chargers made a run to the Super Bowl.

Williams was injured in the second quarter of last week's loss to the Denver Broncos. Head coach Brandon Staley told reporters after the game the 28-year-old could have "possibly" returned.

Per The Athletic's Daniel Popper, Williams couldn't walk on his own coming out of the locker room and had to be helped to the team bus. His injury resulted in Staley receiving heavy criticism for playing his starters in a meaningless game because Los Angeles had already locked up the No. 5 seed.

Rapoport noted the Chargers made "an organizational decision" to have their starters play against the Broncos and everybody was on board with the plan.

This is the second major injury Williams has suffered this season. He missed four games because of a high ankle sprain. The Clemson alum sat out Weeks 9 and 10 with the injury before attempting to play in Week 11 against the Kansas City Chiefs. He was on the field for six offensive snaps before being removed after reaggravating his ankle.

After sitting out two games, Williams returned to the lineup in Week 14 against the Miami Dolphins. He played well over the next four games, averaging 5.3 receptions and 88.3 yards per contest.

Not having Williams is a huge blow to the Chargers offense. He led the team with 895 receiving yards and tied for second with four touchdown receptions.

The Chargers will likely rely heavily on Keenan Allen, Austin Ekeler and Josh Palmer for production in the passing game against the Jaguars.

Los Angeles and Jacksonville will kickoff the AFC playoffs Saturday night at 8:15 p.m. ET.