RB Branden Oliver suffered a turf toe injury against the Baltimore Ravens and hoped to get back on the field. However, the Chargers apparently needed the roster spot, placing him on the injured reserve list.
Oliver ends his second NFL season with 31 carries for 108 yards (3.5 yards per carry) and 13 catches for 112 yards. He also returned eight kickoffs for 197 yards (24.6 yards per return).
The Chargers have ended his season, placing him on IR.
It's a huge blow to the offense that was struggling to run the ball this season behind rookie Melvin Gordon. A lot was falling on QB Philip Rivers' shoulders, and it's likely to stay that way despite not having his top target the rest of the year. Stevie Johnson and Malcom Floyd will see increased work at receiver, but the team could now really turn to TEs Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green, with RB Danny Woodhead likely continuing to be a key part of the passing game as well. Dontrelle Inman and Jacoby Jones are next up on the depth chart at WR. Inman will play much more than Jones.
Allen suffered a kidney injury Sunday when he landed hard at the end of a 13-yard touchdown catch in a 29-26 loss to the Ravens. The wide receiver traveled back from Baltimore to San Diego after the game with the team, but his symptoms worsened as the night progressed. He was checked into a San Diego hospital.
Obviously a huge blow to this offense and to QB Philip Rivers. Stevie Johnson, Malcom Floyd, Dontrelle Inman and Jacoby Jones will have to pick up the slack at WR. The team could also turn to TEs Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green, when healthy. Danny Woodhead should continue to be a force in the passing game from the RB position.
This is what happens when Steve L Smith is lost for the season with an Achilles injury and first-round pick Breshad Perriman is sidelined with a sprained knee. If Sunday's 29-26 win over the San Diego Chargers is any indication, Aiken will assume Smith's role as Joe Flacco's top target.
After Smith left late in the third quarter, Aiken was targeted on half of Flacco's 10 passes. He caught five passes for 59 yards in a little over a quarter and drew a key 21-yard pass-interference penalty that set up the winning kick.
No word on the severity of the injury.
The most significant injury was to leading receiver Keenan Allen, who appeared to reinjure a hip flexor at the end of the first half on a 13-yard touchdown catch and did not return. The Chargers announced that Allen was suffering from muscle spasms.
Another report speculated it was a shoulder. But the team announced it was the back spasms that kept out Allen. With his Week 9 status up in the air, keep in mind the team has a Week 10 bye.
Steve L Smith's retirement tour was cut short Sunday in the cruelest way imaginable.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh announced that Smith suffered a torn Achilles during the team's 29-26 win over the Chargers in Baltimore.
The 36-year old announced in August that this would be his final campaign, and our final image of him will be a sad one. Smith had to be carried off the field with a towel over his face, unable to put any weight on his right leg. Just minutes prior to the injury, Smith had passed Cris Carter for 10th in career receiving yards.
"He's pretty shook up about it," Harbaugh said after the game. "Shook up's not a right word. He's just really -- he's hurting."
There have been those speculating Smith wasn't ruling out coming back next year because of not wanting to go out on a losing season, so it remains to be seen if this injury changes his mind.
Saturday, October 31, 2015, 5:48pm
Hayne impressed coaches from the start of camp with his ability to return punts, among other things. After some preseason highlights like when he truck-sticked a Chargers defender, Hayne eventually made the active roster as both a punt returner and backup running back.
He also quickly became a fan favorite. For his first career game -- on Monday Night Football against the Vikings -- The Guardian rolled out a hilarious live blog for the evening.
Hayne's stint with the 49ers wound up lasting only seven games, though, as the team announced on Saturday that it waived him in a roster move that was coupled with the promotion of practice squad back Kendall Gaskins to the active roster.
Friday, October 30, 2015, 6:45pm
Chargers RB Melvin Gordon (ankle, probable) took full practice reps all week and is probable for Week 8. Gordon will play, but his workload is an unknown after a couple of fumbles and a very limited role last week.
Friday, October 30, 2015, 6:45pm
Chargers TE Antonio Gates (knee, questionable) missed practice all week and is questionable for Week 8. Gates wasn’t close to playing last week and has elected not to get an MRI to determine the severity of the injury. For now, we’re assuming he’s out for Week 8, though the questionable tag means he has a chance to play. The Chargers play early this week, but if he’s out, Ladarius Green is locked in as a strong TE1.
Thursday, October 29, 2015, 6:14pm
Thursday, October 29, 2015, 6:14pm
Chargers TE Antonio Gates (knee) missed practice again Thursday. Gates wasn’t close to playing last week and has elected not to get an MRI to determine the severity of the injury. For now, we’re assuming he’s out for Week 8. The Chargers play early this week, but if he’s out, Ladarius Green is locked in as a strong TE1.
Antonio Gates is keeping himself in the dark.
He is unsure the exact nature of his knee injury. And he likes it that way.
The Chargers tight end said Monday that he's foregone MRI testing on his left MCL sprain, which he suffered two Sundays ago in Green Bay. He prefers an old-school approach, listening to his body to determine when he can return to the field. As the chance that his MCL could sideline him multiple weeks seems to grow, he may have an MRI as early as this week if the knee doesn't progress as hoped, he said.
"I'm playing it by ear," Gates said. "I'll see how it feels on Wednesday, Thursday. If I still can't go, then I'm going to try to look at it to see what the root of the problem is, what really is going on. Right now, it's a feel thing. I know my body. (The athletic trainers) trust me to make the right choice."
It's an odd approach. Typically teams insist on having all the information when making a decision about a player's availability. We'll keep an eye on Gates's status this week, but for now we're assuming he's out for Week 8. With Gates sidelined, Ladarius Green is a bona fide TE1. He has averaged 10.0 FP (standard) in four games in which he's played and Gates has not.
"I still feel like it will take more work,” Oliver said about his expanded role Sunday. “We’ve just got to keep sticking together and keep going.”
Oliver played a season-high 33 snaps against the Raiders, finishing with 35 rushing yards while averaging 3.9 yards per carry. It was the first game Oliver got into any kind of rhythm since leading the Chargers with 582 rushing yards last season. Oliver looked good at times last year and is also capable of being involved in the passing game. With Melvin Gordon struggling and Danny Woodhead more of a change of pace back, the Bolts are looking for someone to step up and run the ball on early downs.