COSTA MESA – The Chargers wide receiver group has been left without their top two pass-catchers in the last two games following a nagging hamstring injury to Keenan Allen and a high ankle sprain to Mike Williams.
But as the team hit the field Wednesday in preparation for the second of two meetings against the Chiefs, there's a glimmer of hope that one, if not both players, could return for Sunday night's game at SoFi Stadium.
"It’s only Wednesday, but you will see them practice this week. I think we’re just going to build them up as we go and I think we’ll be able to tell you a lot more as the week goes on," Chargers coach Brandon Staley said in regards to the chance that Allen and Williams could play this week. "Friday, I will probably have a lot better report."
Allen and Williams each participated during the individual portion of Wednesday's practice, being listed on the injury report as limited. It marked the first time each player has done so at any point beyond the bye week.
Allen, who's played just three quarters of football this season, largely due to setbacks in his recovery, will approach things with extraordinary caution this time around to ideally prevent his absence from being prolonged yet again.
“Whatever the highest percentile of care is, that’s where it will be," Staley said on how careful they'll be with Allen in practice this week.
Allen's most recent re-aggravation to his hamstring occurred during the bye week, and has since then been forced to slow down his progression. Allen said he's been rehabbing daily, but remains unsure just how close he is to returning.
"I couldn't tell you," Allen said of when he'll return to a game. "The game speed is so much different than just running, so this is gonna take some time. I'll see how it feels today."
Allen plans to take it day-by-day and see how his hamstring responds by partaking in practice this week. If things go smoothly leading up to Friday, Allen indicated he could do a little more work during the final practice of the week.
"I hope," Allen said when asked if it's possible he plays against the Chiefs. "I want to."
But before he does, in fact, make his return, Allen wants to ensure he's ready to play all four quarters. He played 23 offensive snaps in Week 7 following a six-week absence, but this time around, Allen wants to ensure he's fully back, rather than make his return on a snap-count restriction, as he did previously.
Williams, who's total time away has been much shorter, said Wednesday that the first practice of the week would be quite telling for how close he is in making his return.
"I'm about to see how it's feeling," Williams said before practice. "Today will tell a lot."
Williams had no issues completing the individual period, but didn't catch any passes once the team broke off into the routes on air drill. However, he was staying busy while standing off to the side, repeatedly bouncing up and down on his ankle, leading to some type of indication for where he's at health-wise.
Williams gave a big grin and a laugh when asked if he's confident he can play this week, responding with a "maybe."
"At the end of the day, you want to be healthy, you want to be able to go out there and do what you do," Williams said. That's my main thing."
Ultimately, there still remains hurdles for Allen and Williams to jump through before they can play in Sunday's AFC West clash, but hope remains they’re inching closer to making that a reality.
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Nick Cothrel is the publisher of Charger Report. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickCothrel for more Chargers coverage.