The Los Angeles Chargers are getting some reinforcements. Fresh off their Week 5 bye, the Chargers removed running back Austin Ekeler from the injury report, and he does not have an injury designation heading into Los Angeles’ Monday night showdown with the Dallas Cowboys.
Ekeler has been out since sustaining an ankle injury during the team’s Week 1 loss to the Miami Dolphins. He ran 16 times for 117 yards and a touchdown and caught four of five passes thrown his way for an additional 47 yards during that game.
In his absence, the Chargers have mostly utilized Josh Kelley as their primary running back, though they also gave snaps to Isaiah Spiller and rookie wide receiver Derius Davis in the backfield. Ekeler’s return comes at a huge time for the Chargers, who recently lost wide receiver Mike Williams for the season and could use an infusion of explosiveness in their offense.
Ekeler is coming off back-to-back seasons of having led the league in all-purpose touchdowns, having scored 20 in 2021 and 18 in 2022. He is an important piece of their offense, and along with Keenan Allen should be one of Justin Herbert’s primary targets the rest of the way.
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His return should allow offensive coordinator Kellen Moore — who spent four seasons coordinating the Dallas offense before making the move to Los Angeles this past offseason — to be a bit less predictable in his play-calling. The Chargers have been extremely pass-happy without Ekeler in the lineup, as Kelley has been wildly ineffective on the ground (he totaled 41 carries for 116 yards — 2.83 per carry — in Ekeler’s absence).
The Cowboys are fresh off having been annihilated by the San Francisco 49ers last Sunday night, and will surely want to bottle up the Chargers on Monday, especially in what is a revenge game for their former offensive coordinator. Ekeler’s return makes that all the more difficult.