Chargers are hopeful Austin Ekeler can play against Patriots despite missing practices

 Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert hands off to  running back Austin Ekeler (30) against the Cleveland Browns.
The Chargers are hopeful Austin Ekeler (30) will be healthy enough to be taking handoffs from quarterback Justin Herbert on Sunday against the Patriots.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Chargers coach Brandon Staley said he’s hopeful Austin Ekeler will be able to play Sunday against New England.

The running back missed practice Thursday and Friday after feeling soreness in his hip midweek. He is officially listed as questionable on the injury report.

Under Staley, the Chargers have been noticeably cautious with injuries this season. Earlier, edge rusher Joey Bosa and wide receiver Mike Williams missed practice all week and still were able to play.

If Ekeler isn’t ready, Justin Jackson, Joshua Kelley and rookie Larry Rountree III likely would be active against the Patriots.

Drue Tranquill (chest muscle) also is questionable, with Staley sounding optimistic about the linebacker’s availability.

Chargers are coming off their worst performance of the season, in a loss to the Ravens, and come back from a week off to face the Patriots, who dominated L.A. last season.

Oct. 28, 2021


Defensive tackle Justin Jones (calf) practiced this week and appears ready to return from the injured reserve list. In order to play Sunday, Jones would have to be activated before the 1 p.m. Saturday deadline.