FOXBORO, Mass. — The Los Angeles Chargers will need all hands on deck Sunday at Gillette Stadium when they take on the New England Patriots in the AFC Divisional Round.
While LA is expected to have all of its necessary pieces at the ready in Foxboro, running back Melvin Gordon will be a step slow.
The Wisconsin product has had an injury-plagued season. He missed the Chargers’ Week 7 game with a hamstring injury and was forced to miss three December games with a knee injury. The fourth-year back reportedly suffered a sprained knee during the first quarter of LA’s wild-card round win over the Baltimore Ravens, per NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport. Gordon returned to the game and rushed for 40 yards and a touchdown, but he’s less than 100 percent.
Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said Wednesday that Gordon sat out practice to rest his sore knees.
“He’s responded well,” Lynn said of his star running back dealing with the workload Wednesday on a conference call. “We’re definitely going to rest him today — sore knees — but he’s a gamer. He lives to play in games like this. I’m highly confident he’s going to play Sunday, but there’s not a lot of backs in the league right now that are 100 percent, to be honest with you. He’s one of those guys that he’s not 100 percent but sometimes you don’t feel like it because the way he competes.”
With the weather forecast potentially calling for snow, the conditions could force Lynn and his team to adjust the gameplan as it pertains to Gordon.
“I think any conditions are going to affect the way both sides play the game and so we’ll make those decisions and adjustments when the time comes,” Lynn said.
Gordon is one of the leagues’ most electric backs when healthy, and even at less than 100 percent, he will cause issues for the Patriots. But if his effectiveness is slowed by his knees, the Chargers will need to rely on Philip Rivers to boost them to their first AFC Championship Game since 2007.