Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon III attempts to jump over Cleveland Browns defender Damarious Randall on October 14, 2018 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI | License Photo
Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon is expected to play in Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals despite being limited in the team's last two practices, multiple media outlets reported.
Gordon is dealing with both knee and hamstring injuries as the Chargers (7-3) bid to rebound from last Sunday's 23-22 setback to the Denver Broncos. The 25-year-old rushed for 69 yards on 18 carries and had six receptions for 87 yards against the Broncos, but he was held out of the end zone for the first time since the season opener.
"Most starting runners this time of year are sore or something's wrong," Los Angeles head coach Anthony Lynn said, via ESPN. "So we'll have to decide if it's worth holding him back or just letting him go."
A hamstring injury caused Gordon to sit out a matchup against the Tennessee Titans on Oct. 21, but he has at least 16 carries in each of the subsequent three games.
Gordon is a critical cog in the offense for the Chargers, who had a six-game winning streak snapped last week. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Gordon has rushed for 741 yards and seven touchdowns and added 42 catches for four more scores.
"The thing about Melvin is, last year and even back in 2016, he got a lot of carries and he got stronger and stronger as they went. Obviously, you don't want to give him too many," Los Angeles offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt said earlier in the week. "As long as he's healthy, which he's been, and running he seems to get stronger as the game goes on."
If Gordon suffers any setback and is unable to go, the Chargers will turn to backup Austin Ekeler, who practiced fully on Thursday and Friday after he was limited Wednesday due to a neck issue.
Ekeler has rushed for 374 yards and has averaged 5.8 yards per carry. He got the start against Tennessee last month and rushed 12 times for 42 yards while catching five passes for 26 yards.