Chargers WR Mike Williams will return; S Derwin James doubtful

COAST MESA, Calif. — The Los Angeles Chargers can’t escape the injury situation that has engulfed their season.

Wide receiver Mike Williams (high ankle sprain) and center Corey Linsley (concussion) will be available to play in a Week 14 matchup against the Miami Dolphins at SoFi Stadium on Sunday Night Football.

However, safety Derwin James (thigh), defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day (knee) and cornerback Bryce Callahan (groin), as well as right tackle Trey Pipkins III (knee), are all questionable. Neither participated in practice during the week, according to the Chargers’ injury report.

The Chargers are 6-6, sitting just outside the seven-team AFC playoff picture as they prepare for the 8-4 Dolphins led by quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.

“It would be a great challenge for us, regardless of whether we had all of our players,” Chargers coach Brandon Staley said Friday. “They’ve been prolific scoring the ball, moving the ball.”

With five games remaining, the Bolts have a 61.2% chance of making the playoffs, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index.

The likely absence of James, Joseph-Day and Callahan could be significant for a defensive unit that already lacks running back Joey Bosa, cornerback JC Jackson and defensive linemen Austin Johnson, Otito Ogbonnia and Christian Covington, all of whom they were placed injured. book early this season.

“Guys need to step up,” said running back Khalil Mack, who has seven sacks this season. “You’ve got to have guys come in and play and show up in a good way.”

The Chargers rank 30th in the NFL allowing an average of 25.8 points per game. The Dolphins’ offense ranks eighth in the league in scoring, averaging 23.2 points per game.

On offense, this will be the second straight game quarterback Justin Herbert could be without both starting tackles as Pipkins suffers a knee injury. Pro Bowl left tackle Rashawn Slater has been on injured reserve since tearing his left biceps tendon in Week 3.

In the past three games, Herbert has been sacked 14 times, the most in any three-game span of his three-year career.

Williams returns after dealing with a sprained right ankle suffered in Week 7. He attempted to return in Week 11 but played only six snaps because he aggravated his ankle and missed the next two games.

This could be the first full game this season that Herbert has available for both Williams and Keenan Allen, who missed seven games with a hamstring injury. The wide receiver duo has only been available on 5.7% of the Chargers’ total offensive snaps this season.

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