KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon joined his backup Austin Ekeler on the inactive list for their high-profile AFC West showdown against the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night.
Gordon and Ekeler combined for 103 yards rushing and 189 yards receiving when the teams met in Los Angeles to open the season. But after Gordon tested his injured knee in warmups, he conferred with coach Anthony Lynn and general manager Tom Telesco and shook his head, “No.”
Gordon has now missed three consecutive games with the knee injury.
Ekeler had already been ruled out after hurting his neck and sustaining a concussion while trying to recover an onside kick to preserve the Chargers’ victory over Cincinnati last week.
The Chargers were forced to lean on rookie running backs Justin Jackson and Detrez Newsome along with Troymaine Pope, who was added to the active roster in a series of pregame moves. Pope joined the Los Angeles practice squad Nov. 28 after spending time with the Seahawks, Jets, Colts and Texans.
The Chargers also placed backup cornerback Trevor Williams on injured reserve with a knee injury, waived linebacker Tre’Von Johnson and added linebacker Kyle Wilson to the active roster Thursday.
Chargers nose tackle Brandon Mebane was again inactive as he deals with a family matter.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs welcomed back star safety Eric Berry for the first time this season, though they also were missing top running back Spencer Ware and wide receiver Sammy Watkins.
Berry tore his Achilles’ tendon in last season’s opener in New England, returned in time for offseason workouts and then developed a heel injury early in training camp. He finally returned to practice a few weeks ago and was in the starting lineup for the first time this season against the Chargers.
The Chiefs had teased his return earlier Thursday in a social media posting.
Ware had taken over the lead role after the Chiefs released NFL rushing champion Kareem Hunt due to off-the-field problems. He was flourishing back in the starting role before hurting his shoulder and his hamstring in last week’s overtime victory over the Ravens.
Damien Williams, Darrel Williams and Charcandrick West were sharing the load in his place.
Watkins, who signed a $48 million, three-year deal with the Chiefs in the offseason, was out for the third time in four games with a heel injury. Chris Conley took his place.
There was some concern that Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill would be sidelined after he hurt his wrist and foot against the Ravens. But he insisted after the game Sunday that he would be available on short rest, and the speedster went through normal pregame warmups without any problems.
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