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More COVID-19 problems: Chargers’ Mike Williams and Chris Harris Jr. added to list

Chargers' Keenan Allen (13) gets a pat on his back from Mike Williams for scoring a touchdown in Cincinnati.
Chargers’ Keenan Allen (13) gets a pat on his back from Mike Williams for scoring a touchdown in Cincinnati. With both on the COVID-19 reserve list, it’s possible the Chargers could be without both starting receivers against the Giants.
(Michael Conroy / Associated Press)

For the second time in three weeks, the Chargers are dealing with COVID-19 issues, although there’s a chance they could avoid this latest situation impacting their next game.

The team placed wide receiver Mike Williams and cornerback Chris Harris Jr. on the virus reserve list Wednesday.

Neither player is vaccinated but still could play this weekend because each was deemed only to have been a close contact with wide receiver Keenan Allen. He tested positive and was placed on the COVID list Monday.

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The earliest an unvaccinated player who is a close contact can return to his team is five days. According to league protocols, Williams and Harris would need to test negative for five days before they’re eligible to return, meaning if all goes right the two could be back Saturday.

Allen is vaccinated and, therefore, also could play Sunday when the Chargers meet the New York Giants at SoFi Stadium. Vaccinated players who are asymptomatic can return to the team facility after receiving two consecutive negative tests taken at least 24 hours apart.

Any vaccinated player who doesn’t produce consecutive negative tests is eligible to rejoin his team after 10 days.

Roundtable: Chargers almost blew a 24-point lead but got their biggest win of the season in Cincinnati. The Rams ended a skid with a blowout of Jacksonville. What’s next for these L.A. teams?

Last month, the Chargers dealt with a COVID situation involving players along their defensive front. Joey Bosa, Jerry Tillery, Christian Covington and Linval Joseph all ended up on the virus list.

Bosa missed no time. Tillery and Covington missed one game and Joseph two. Joseph came off the list Wednesday and rejoined his teammates at practice.

Staley said Joseph, who also has been recovering from a shoulder injury, texted him Sunday during the Chargers’ 41-22 victory at Cincinnati. Staley saw the message after the game.

“He said, ‘Coach, I’m ready,’ ” Staley said. “So that made me feel good. We were just making sure that we took the precautions to make sure he was truly ready to go. It’s looking good so far this week.”

Allen and Williams are the Chargers’ top two receivers. Against the Bengals, Allen scored two touchdowns and Williams had five catches for 110 yards, including 47- and 41-yarders.

In his ninth season, Allen remains the team’s most reliable receiver. Williams is the Chargers’ main deep threat and is tied with running back Austin Ekeler for the team lead with seven touchdown receptions.

After those two, the Chargers’ production at wide receiver has been limited. Jalen Guyton is coming off his best game — four catches for 90 yards — and has 18 receptions for 289 yards for the season.

The Chargers put on one of their best pass-rushing performances in years against Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

The only other wide receiver who has been active all season is rookie Josh Palmer, who has 15 catches for 168 yards.

On Sunday, the Chargers will host a 4-8 Giants team facing its own questions about key player availability. Quarterback Daniel Jones has not been cleared for contact because of a neck injury. He’s not expected to return this week.

His backup, Mike Glennon, remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol. But coach Joe Judge told reporters Wednesday that he believes Glennon will be cleared to return by Sunday.

If Glennon can’t play, Jake Fromm, who was signed off Buffalo’s practice squad last week, is expected to start against the Chargers.

 Joey Bosa leaves the field during the Chargers' road game in Cincinnati.
Joey Bosa leaves the field during the Chargers’ road game in Cincinnati to be examined for a head injury.
(Zach Bolinger / Associated Press)

Along with Joseph returning Wednesday, Bosa also practiced and was not included on the Chargers’ injury report. Bosa missed most of the game in Cincinnati after being evaluated for a head injury following the first quarter.

But the Chargers could be without starting defensive tackle Justin Jones, who injured his ankle against the Bengals and didn’t practice.

Edge rusher Kyler Fackrell definitely won’t play Sunday after undergoing a procedure on his knee. Staley said the team expects Fackrell to return before the end of the season.

The Chargers could receive a boost in their secondary soon. Rookie cornerback Asante Samuel Jr., who remains in concussion protocol, returned to practice. He has missed the last two games.

Reigning All-Pro center Corey Linsley was limited in practice after he said his back tightened up last weekend. Linsley said he will be ready to play against New York.

Linsley nominated

The Chargers nominated Linsley, who is in his first season with the team, for the NFL’s Walter Payton man of the year award.

The Rams face a tough test against the NFC West-leading Cardinals and the Las Vegas Raiders look to overcome the odds against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Linsley has been a longtime supporter of Court Appointed Special Advocates, a volunteer-based nonprofit that aims to provide a voice for abused and neglected children under the legal protection of the court system.

He and his wife, Anna, have worked extensively with the organization, first in Green Bay, where Linsley played his first seven NFL seasons, and now in Los Angeles and Orange County.

“The people who work at CASA and the advocates are the real men and women of the year,” Linsley said. “They’re the ones that deserve all of the credit because the work they do goes unnoticed.

“They never get to stand on podiums and accept awards. They are the ones who go in, day in and day out, and have a constant impact on people’s lives. They deserve all the credit. I’m happy I can be the guy that can get them publicity.”


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