Chargers prepare for playoff clash without Hunter Henry and Brandon Mebane
The Chargers chose not to activate Hunter Henry, meaning he will be unavailable Sunday for their wild-card playoff game.
The tight end missed the regular season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in May.
Henry has been rehabilitating for months and in recent weeks increased the intensity of his workouts with the idea he could possibly return in the postseason.
Despite Henry’s progress, the Chargers decided he would not come back against Baltimore.
In his first two NFL seasons, Henry proved himself to be a reliable target and capable blocker, both of which could have helped Sunday. In 29 career games, he has 81 receptions for 1,057 yards and 12 touchdowns.
The Chargers also are preparing to play without starting defensive tackle Brandon Mebane. His official designation for the game remained “doubtful” Saturday.
Mebane has been away from the team in order to be with his infant daughter, Makenna, who is battling a rare chromosome disorder.
Born in November with trisomy 13, she is in the neonatal intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Omaha.
His absence could be particularly notable because of Baltimore’s run-heavy offense. Mebane had six tackles and played more than half of the defensive snaps against the Ravens in Week 16.
“We are counting on our defensive line big,” coach Anthony Lynn said. “They’re going to have to get off blocks and make plays.”
Since rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson took over as the starter in Week 11, Baltimore easily has been the NFL’s best running team, averaging 229.6 yards per game.
The Chargers held Jackson to 39 rushing yards and the Ravens to 159 during the teams’ Week 16 meeting in Carson.
“They say, ‘Stop us,’” Lynn said. “You know what they’re going to do. But you still have to play disciplined and sound football because you play 11-on-11 with the quarterback’s versatility.”
The Chargers already will be without linebacker Jatavis Brown, who suffered a season-ending ankle injury last weekend. Hayes Pullard figures to fill in for Brown.
Among the Chargers making their postseason debuts Sunday will be veteran center Mike Pouncey. During his seven years with Miami, the Dolphins made the playoffs only once and he was hurt that season. …The Ravens haven’t hosted a playoff game since 2012. … Tight end Antonio Gates has two touchdown receptions in his career against the Ravens. Both came in 2007.
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