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Injuries Worsen For Chargers Coming Off Bye Week

Injuries continue to pile up for the Chargers despite coming off their bye week.

COSTA MESA – The Chargers entered the bye week hoping to use the time away as an opportunity to rest up and get players healthy. But as they finished their final practice this week in preparation for the Falcons, the team is in worse shape now than when they entered the bye week.

Just when things looked to improve for Keenan Allen, returning in Week 7 on a snap-count following a six-week absence due to a hamstring injury, he suffered a setback during the bye week during rehab training.

"I don't think it was a re-strain or anything," Allen said of his worsened hamstring injury. "It's just some more scar tissue that's trying to break off. ... I'm gonna let it do its own thing."

Allen was held out of practice each day this week and won't play Sunday.

The Chargers will be without their top two wide receivers with Allen and Williams ruled out. Williams suffered a high ankle sprain during the team's last game and is expected to miss multiple weeks.

“We’ve had a good week of practice. Our guys know that’s part of the game," Chargers coach Brandon Staley said of being without his top two pass-catchers in Allen and Williams. "You have to stick together through situations like this. That’s why you have to fall back on the culture that you’ve created, the brotherhood that you’ve created. That’s how you make your way through it.”

The Chargers depth will certainly be tested, turning to second-year player Joshua Palmer as the No. 1 wide receiver this week. Palmer is fresh off an injury himself, returning after a concussion that sidelined him in the game prior to the bye week.

DeAndre Carter, initially brought in this offseason as a return man, was anticipated to play a significant role in the passing game behind Palmer, but was given a game designation as questionable due to an illness.

“DeAndre just didn’t feel right at practice," Staley said. "We’re just being careful with him. He’s questionable for the game. We’ll know more tomorrow.”

Another injury blow that occurred this week is tight end Donald Parham Jr. re-aggravating his hamstring during practice. Parham, who missed the bulk of training camp and the first four weeks this season due to a hamstring injury, is dealing with the same injury and will miss a matter of weeks. He's been ruled out against the Falcons.

Defensive lineman Jerry Tillery injured his back during a workout this week and has also been ruled out.

Practice squad kicker Taylor Bertolet has been activated twice this season ahead of game day in place of the injured Dustin Hopkins, but he too suffered an injury this week. Bertolet tweaked his quad in practice, landing him on the practice squad injured list.

As Bertolet gets put on the shelf, the Chargers signed Cameron Dicker to handle the kicking duties in Atlanta this Sunday.

"He got here this week. He has practiced well," Staley said of Dicker. "Our special teams coaches are very familiar with him, coming out of college and what he’s been able to do in the NFL. ... We’ve been able to fit him right in to practice. 

As injuries have compounded one another up and down the roster, the Chargers' group of pass-catchers look to be the biggest question coming off the bye week.

Palmer, Carter (questionable), Jason Moore Jr. and Michael Bandy make up the team's wide receiver group on the active roster. Ahead of Sunday, the Chargers are almost certain to elevate at least one receiver from the practice squad that includes Joe Reed, John Hightower and Keelan Doss.

“Bandy and J-Moore, we have some young guys that we brought in; Keelan Doss, Joe Reed, John Hightower," Staley said of the wide receiver group. "We’ve been able to get a good look at those guys, whether it’s been on the work team or working with our offense. I think Michael has done a really nice job with this opportunity. You guys know Jason Moore, he has been here for a couple years and has been a very dependable player for us. 

"I know that our quarterbacks feel comfortable with both of those guys. Then, what you have to be able to do is spread the distribution in other areas to where you’re strong — tight end group, running back group — and then come together and put a great plan together.”

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Nick Cothrel is the publisher of Charger Report. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickCothrel for more Chargers coverage.