The Chargers and coach Anthony Lynn spent Thanksgiving Day dismantling the Dallas Cowboys, and the momentum carried over Friday when the team got some good news.
Wide receiver Mike Williams, whom the team selected No. 7 in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft, didn’t injure the anterior cruciate ligament In his right knee Thursday.
Williams left the game after his lone snap, limping off the field from what appeared to be a non-contact injury early in the first quarter.
“He's still being evaluated right now, doctors and trainers. We'll see where he goes from there,” Lynn said. “…As of now, I've just been told ACL, that’s been ruled out, which was very good news for me. I think we can deal with the rest, and lot of it may depend on pain tolerance.”
Williams’ rookie season has been defined by injuries. After being picked out of Clemson, he participated in one day of rookie minicamp before being sidelined with a lower-back injury. That cost Williams the workouts and the entire preseason.
He debuted in Week 6 against the Raiders and was limited until the Chargers’ win over the Bills in Week 11, when he caught five passes for 38 yards — both bests in his young career.
But while Thursday was a setback, it might’ve looked worse than it actually was.
After coming off the field, Williams needed to be carted to the locker room. He left the stadium on crutches with his right knee heavily braced.
“We were just talking last week about how he was doing better and better and doing some things — getting off the line of scrimmage and catching the ball, being physical at the top of his routes,” Lynn said. “Guys that like that are hard to cover. It could set him back some.”
Waiting on Novak
Kicker Nick Novak, who missed his fourth field goal try in seven games, got a vote of confidence — of sorts — from Lynn, who said the team wants Novak to remain the kicker.
But if Novak’s back doesn’t heal before the Chargers play host to Cleveland a week from Sunday, the team might be forced to move in a different direction.
“That depends on how well Nick is doing. We need Nick here,” Lynn said. “Nick’s a guy that [brings a] veteran presence. If he’s ready to go, we’re fine with Nick. If he’s not, obviously we’re going to have some people in here and try them out.”
One thing the Chargers could end up doing is handing kickoff duties to punter Drew Kaser, who had two touchbacks in Novak’s place Thursday.
“That could be an option for us,” Lynn said. “But I wouldn’t want anything to affect his punting. Those are different muscles those guys are using, that they’re not used to using. You have to practice that. If that would affect his punting in any kind of way, I will not do it.”