The Chargers announced on Friday before traveling to Jacksonville that receiver Mike Williams will not play in Saturday’s playoff game, plus he will not be traveling with the team. He will stay behind and continue getting treatment for his back injury.
A couple of minutes after the announcement, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero tweeted that there was a fracture in Williams’s back that would sideline him for “a couple of weeks” and probably couldn’t return until the Super Bowl.
That is a different story than the one that was told 24 hours before the report came out by Chargers head coach Brandon Staley.
He confirmed that Williams would be traveling with the team, and they would try to get him plenty of rest. They would test him out pregame and see how his back responded.
“He’s making progress in getting treatment,” Staley said Thursday. “We’re just trying to get him as much rest as possible for Saturday. We’re hoping that he can make it to the game.”
This stems from last Sunday’s decision by Staley to play his starters for most of the game against the Denver Broncos, even though they had the fifth seed wrapped up. Williams hurt his back midway through the second quarter on a screen pass.
“I stand behind what we did in that football game,” Staley said after being asked if he stood by his decision to play starters. “All of my players are really important to me. There were a lot of players that were playing in that game that were in harm’s way. That is just the nature of football. It’s very difficult to decide who plays and who doesn’t, and who is more valuable than the rest.
“What you are trying to do is set a standard for your program about how you do things. That is what I believe in. I didn’t want anybody to get hurt in that game, regardless of their status, because everybody is important.”
The Chargers will now depend on receiver Keenan Allen, Josh Palmer, DeAndre Carter, and Michael Bandy to hold it down during Williams’s injury.