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Chargers WR Mike Williams Out 2-3 Weeks with Back Fracture

Mike Williams Back Fracture

Wide receiver Mike Williams suffered a fracture in his back and was downgraded to out for the Los Angeles Chargers' wild-card matchup on Saturday with the Jacksonville Jaguars, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Although initial X-Rays and MRIs came back negative, Williams' recovery this week did not go as quickly as anticipated, leading the Chargers to have him re-scanned Friday morning. The second scan showed a minor fracture in his back that is expected to keep him sidelined for 2-3 weeks.

That timeframe for a possible return would allow him to be available for Super Bowl LVII if the Chargers advance to that point.

"This is an unfortunate injury that will impact the Chargers this postseason. Williams is a point scorer," said Mike Tannenbaum, former NFL team executive and analyst for The 33rd Team.

The injury occurred in the Chargers' regular-season finale against the Denver Broncos. Williams, who had 63 receptions for 895 yards and four touchdowns during the regular season, also missed four games with an ankle injury.

There was a lot of controversy surrounding Chargers coach Brandon Staley's decision to play his starters, including Williams, deep into what turned out to be a meaningless game last Sunday. Analyst Mitchell Schwartz of The 33rd Team took Staley to task for not having a contingency plan once it was determined the game wouldn't affect playoff seeding.

"What makes this thing so insane to me is that Staley is a 'rest his guys in the preseason' guy,"  Schwartz said. "I don't think (Justin) Herbert has played a snap over the last couple of years (in the preseason) because (Staley) sits all those guys. He cares about keeping those guys healthy for what? For Week 1. The playoffs are a week away. This has gotten to the point where it's like, 'What are you doing?'"

With Williams out for Saturday's playoff contest, second-year receiver Joshua Palmer and NFL journeyman DeAndre Carter will be relied on to step into larger roles. Aside from Palmer and Carter, the only other receivers available for the Chargers will be Pro Bowler Keenan Allen and depth receiver Michael Bandy, as Los Angeles has chosen not to elevate any of the four receivers currently on their practice squad.

Williams was expected to make an impact with a healthy Herbert and Allen being in the mix. When the two teams met earlier in the season, the Jaguars won, 38-10, in Los Angeles with Williams having just one reception for 15 yards. Herbert perhaps will lean more on Palmer and running back Austin Ekeler, who combined for 14 receptions in the first meeting.

On Thursday, before the extent of Williams' injury was known, analyst Rod Woodson of The 33rd Team thought the Chargers had an excellent opportunity to beat the Jaguars this time because Los Angeles was finally getting healthy.

"This is not the same Chargers team," Woodson said. "Keenan Allen is healthy, Joey Bosa was dealing with some injuries but now he's healthy."

But now Williams is not. We'll see on Saturday how big of an impact it will have.