As of Wednesday, the Chargers still were without a starting running back for Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium.
Marion Butts, the normal starter and the NFL’s leading rusher, is recovering from a foot sprain. His status is questionable for Sunday and he likely will be kept out of practice all week. Tight end Rod Bernstine, the Chargers’ other primary ball carrier, still is on injured reserve and Coach Dan Henning hasn’t decided whether he will be activated.
Bernstine practiced Wednesday and looked all right, Henning said. Henning plans to watch film of Bernstine running and then decide whether he will bring him off the injured-reserve list. Bernstine probably will start if he is activated.
Linebacker Richard Brown (hamstring) also may be activated off injured reserve this week.
Other Charger injuries: Wide receiver Nate Lewis is listed as doubtful with a wrist injury. Henning said Lewis is able to catch passes but may have trouble catching punts. Strong safety Lester Lyles (knee), nose tackle Les Miller (back) and receiver Walter Wilson (thigh) are all questionable.
Henning expressed concern about Miller’s back problems and said he will probably be downgraded to doubtful. Miller has been playing with soreness in his lower back since the Nov. 25 game against Seattle. He expects to play Sunday.
Quarterback Steve DeBerg and running back Christian Okoye head Kansas City’s list of questionable players, which reads like a James Michener novel. Others on the list are safety Deron Cherry (knee), receiver Fred Jones (ankle), linebacker Chris Martin (back), receiver J.J. Birden (groin), cornerback Albert Lewis (hip) and cornerback Kevin Ross (hip).
Of DeBerg and Okoye, Chief Coach Marty Schottenheimer said: “I would say neither one of them will be at 100% but both are liable to be available. With Steve, it will be a matter of deciding how he can handle the ball. There’s no doubt he can play in the shotgun. The question is whether he can take the snap from center.”