The Los Angeles Chargers added star running back Austin Ekeler to the injury report (hip) ahead of the team's Week 8 matchup with the New England Patriots.
On Friday, head coach Brandon Staley told reporters he's hopeful that Ekeler will play Sunday against the Patriots. Ekeler missed Thursday and Friday's practices with a hip injury after coming up sore after Wednesday's session.
Ekeler and the Chargers are coming off a bye with a 4-2 record on the season. Ekeler has played 30-plus offensive snaps in every Chargers game this season, including 34 total before suffering the hip injury against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 6. He's missed just two other practices in 2021, both of which coming before the team's season opener that he ultimately played 47 snaps in a win over the Washington Football Team.
PFF injury analyst Mario Pilato isn't hitting the panic button yet, though.
I’m not concerned about #Chargers RB Austin Ekeler yet. He just came off of a bye but registered a DNP today. If he misses practice tomorrow then we need to start worrying. https://t.co/ChRfRsWsKr
— Mario Pilato (@PFF_Mario) October 28, 2021
Off to a blazing start, Ekeler has totaled 356 rushing yards and four scores on the ground across 73 attempts (4.9 yards per carry). He's also caught 27 passes for another 242 yards and three touchdowns. He currently ranks as RB4 in PPR fantasy football leagues with 129 points, and his 74.2 PFF grade ranks ninth among backs with 200-plus offensive snaps on the season.
No other Chargers running back has more than 70 snaps played through six games. Rookie Larry Rountree III leads the backups in snaps played (65) but has totaled just 59 yards on 25 touches. Veterans Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley have combined for just 80 total yards.
Los Angeles is currently favored by 4.5 points at home over New England ahead of Staley's Thursday press conference.