Report: Melvin Gordon Plans to Play vs. Cardinals with Knee, Hamstring Injuries

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorNovember 25, 2018

CARSON, CA - NOVEMBER 18: Melvin Gordon #28 of the Los Angeles Chargers gets past Todd Davis #51 of the Denver Broncos as he runs the ball in the game at StubHub Center on November 18, 2018 in Carson, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon will play on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, per Adam Schefter of ESPN:

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

Chargers’ RB Melvin Gordon, listed as questionable for Sunday due to knee and hamstring injuries, plans to play vs. Cardinals, per source. Gordon convinced coaches this weekend to give him a chance, despite some organizational interest in resting him for maintenance.

Gordon has amassed 1,189 yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns in nine games for the 7-3 Bolts, who currently hold the AFC's top wild-card spot and are 1.5 games behind the Kansas City Chiefs for the AFC West lead.

Gordon's Sunday status presented a dilemma for the Bolts.

On one hand, the Chargers likely don't need Gordon to win. They are clear home favorites against a 2-8 Cardinals team that just dropped a home game to the 2-8 Oakland Raiders. Per OddsShark, Los Angeles is a 13.5-point favorite.

L.A. also has a fantastic backup running back in second-year pro Austin Ekeler, who has rushed for 5.8 yards per carry. He spelled Gordon for one game this year and had 68 yards from scrimmage in a 20-19 win over the Tennessee Titans. A dual-threat running back, Ekeler has 660 yards from scrimmage and three scores.

Furthermore, resting Gordon gives him an opportunity to be in better shape for a tough closing stretch that includes games against the 7-2-1 Pittsburgh Steelers and the 9-2 Chiefs. The Steelers game is next on the ledger and will take place December 2.

On the other hand, the team may need all hands on deck. Even though the Chargers are 7-3, a playoff berth isn't a guarantee with five AFC teams sitting with 5-5 records behind them in the standings. If the Bolts slip up and a few teams from that group make late charges, then Los Angeles could be home for the postseason.

Having Gordon, who has gained 100-plus yards from scrimmage or scored a touchdown in every game this season, gives the Bolts a better chance to win. If he and the team think he's good enough to go, then perhaps the best bet is to let him play to decrease the chance of a letdown.