Mike Williams Expected to Miss Chargers Training Camp with Back Injury

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJuly 30, 2017

San Diego Chargers rookie wide receiver Mike Williams (7) trains during an NFL football practice Tuesday, May 23, 2017, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Gregory Bull/Associated Press

Los Angeles Chargers rookie wide receiver Mike Williams is expected to miss training camp as he recovers from a back injury, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

Williams was placed on the physically unable to perform list, the Chargers announced Saturday. Per a news release from the team provided by Schefter, Williams "saw [Chargers] doctors yesterday and will continue to progress on Dr. Robert Wilkins' plan. He will rehab and strengthen his back and is not expected to practice during training camp."

Williams was the No. 7 overall pick in this year's draft and was expected to pair with Keenan Allen in the starting lineup. But a lower-back disc herniation left Williams' status unclear, and the rookie may yet require back surgery.

Los Angeles is hoping to avoid that outcome, however, and according to Eric D. Williams of ESPN.com, the Clemson product recently received a second epidural shot.

"He's been responding well," Chargers general manager Tom Telesco told Williams. "The path, right now, is rehab and strengthening. That's good news, obviously.

"He'll see our doctors this weekend and will get more of a timetable of where he is."

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The injury hasn't appeared to dampen Williams' spirits.

"The one thing I talked to him about is mentally, if you're out here and not practicing, it's going to be hard on you," Telesco said. "But, he's young and I think he can handle it. He's said all the right things. We'll have a plan together as far as his rehab is concerned, and he's got to stay on top of the details. This is his job now."

A healthy return to action will be key for a team that was devoid of dynamic weapons in the passing game last season. With Allen playing just one game last year—and nine games total over the past two seasons—Tyrell Williams led the team with 69 receptions and 1,059 yards, while tight end Hunter Henry paced the way with eight receiving touchdowns.

A healthy Allen and Mike Williams would represent an upgrade, while Travis Benjamin will fill the slot role and Dontrelle Inman and Tyrell Williams provide depth. What was a weakness could be a strength for the Chargers and give Philip Rivers plenty of options, but only with a healthy Allen and Mike Williams.

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