The Chargers rushed for 233 yards on 40 carries in the season opener when they had starting running back Austin Ekeler. They have rushed for 91 yards on 36 carries in the two games without him.
Los Angeles needs Ekeler back, and his return to practice Wednesday has everyone hopeful he will be in the lineup Sunday. Ekeler, who has a high-ankle sprain, got in limited work.
He said playing against the Raiders is a “possibility.”
“I can run full speed straight ahead right now,” Ekeler said, Kris Rhim of ESPN. “But if I go turn, that’s where I have been trying to build back towards.”
High-ankle sprains generally take 3-4 weeks to heal, and since the Chargers have a bye in Week 5, it seems likely Ekeler misses another week.
Coach Brandon Staley said the upcoming bye week plays a factor into injury considerations “in some cases” but didn’t specify with Ekeler.
“I’m not at a point where I’ve gone out there and tried to push it 100 percent yet,” Ekeler said. “That’s not how the process works. You continue to build yourself back. It’s kind of like climbing the stairs. You’re not going to just jump straight to the top stair and tell me, ‘Oh yeah, I can make it there.’ You kind of go one-by-one, ‘OK, now we’re progressing towards 100 percent.’ So I haven’t been there yet.”
The Chargers had six injured (or sick) players miss Wednesday’s practice. Outside linebacker Joey Bosa (hamstring/toe) , tight end Gerald Everett (illness), safety Alohi Gilman (heel), safety Derwin James Jr. (hamstring), center Corey Linsley (illness) and linebacker Kenneth Murray Jr. (groin) did not participate.
Linebacker Eric Kendricks (hamstring) and offensive tackle Rayshawn Slater (ankle) were limited.