It's safe to say this isn't the start Austin Ekeler and the Chargers had hoped for. The Chargers are 0-2, and the team's star running back is dealing with an ankle injury that has sidelined him since L.A.'s season-opening loss to the Dolphins.
Ekeler, who missed the team's three-point loss to the Titans in Week 2, did not practice Wednesday as the Chargers prepare for Sunday's matchup with the also winless Vikings. Ekeler offered an update on his injury situation during the latest edition of his podcast, via Sports Illustrated.
"You've just got to get it to a point where you feel good, where it's taped up and you can actually feel like, 'If I get tackled, it's not going to be re-aggravated and set me back to where I was before, where I could barely walk on it.' … It's not something that's going to be like, 'Ah, he's out for several months' type of thing. It's a day-to-day, week-to-week situation. I like the progress that I've made so far. Hopefully back sooner than later."
Based on his comments and Wednesday's practice status, it doesn't appear that Ekeler is in line to face the Vikings. If Ekeler doesn't play, 2020 fourth-round pick Joshua Kelly will once again fill in in the starting lineup. Kelly had 39 yards on 13 carries during the Titans game but had an impressive 91 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries in the team's Week 1 loss to the Dolphins.
Ekeler's absence hurts, but defense has been the Chargers' main issue so far. The unit is currently 30th in the NFL in points and passing yards allowed and 24th in both rushing yards allowed and red zone efficiency.