A fracture in Mike Williams’ back will force the Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver to sit out Saturday’s wild-card playoff game, the team announced Friday.
The star pass catcher will likely not be available for the remainder of the postseason due to the nonsurgical back fracture as he is expected to be sidelined for multiple weeks, according to a report from ESPN.
The Chargers did confirm that Williams will stay in Los Angeles to continue his treatment.
The sixth-year receiver missed every practice this week after he was injured late in a Week 18 game against the Denver Broncos.
Chargers head coach Brandon Staley faced criticism for electing to play many of the team’s starters and key players in the regular-season finale because the game had no playoff implications for Los Angeles.
“These aren’t easy decisions,” Staley said, via ESPN. “They’re not easy decisions and hindsight is perfect for everybody on the outside, but these games are not easy to manage. They’re not, because you don’t have that many players and we did it to the best of our ability.”
After last week’s game, an X-ray and an MRI initially appeared negative, and Williams was diagnosed with a back contusion. But he did not progress over the next few days and underwent an additional MRI.
The second MRI determined that Williams had a fracture in his back.
Williams was the Chargers’ leading receiver for the 2022 regular season, despite only playing in 13 games. Quarterback Justin Herbert benefited from Williams’ big playmaking ability, as he averaged 7.7 yards per attempt with seven touchdowns when Williams was on the field this season.
When Williams was unavailable, the QB averaged 5.8 yards per attempt with no touchdowns. A high ankle sprain kept Williams out of four games in 2022.
Wide receiver Joshua Palmer is expected to start in place of Williams. He is second on the team in receptions and yards.
This is not the first time Williams has had to work through back issues in his professional football career. He was sidelined for five games of his rookie season due to a back injury.
The Chargers (10-7) ended a four-year playoff drought and are set to kick off against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday at 8:15 p.m. ET.