With a Bad Ankle and Now Two Bad Knees, Can the Chargers Rely on Melvin Gordon?

January 10, 2019 | insideinjuries | No Comments

Once again Melvin Gordon is expected to play through an injury that he shouldn’t be playing through. That means he is going to be at a very High Risk of Injury in the Divisional Round, and he is going to have a hard time making it to the end of the game.

Gordon entered the Wild Card game battling a right ankle injury and recently coming off of a grade 2 (moderate) MCL sprain to his right knee. He was High Risk, so it wasn’t a surprise when he suffered yet another injury early on. Gordon took a hit to the outside of his knee, causing what appeared to be another MCL sprain, this time to the opposite leg.

He was taken back to the locker room for treatment and returned in the second half, now with a brace on both of his knees. If he hadn’t have found the end zone, his day would have been considered a huge bust (17 carries, 40 yards). Playing with a brace on both knees greatly affects mobility, and on top of that he was clearly nowhere near 100% due to all of the injuries.

So what about the Divisional Round? Expectations are pretty low according to the Inside Injuries algorithm. A mild knee sprain needs a minimum of 2 weeks to heal, and a moderate sprain needs closer to 4-5. Gordon is going to play despite missing quite a bit of practice time, but that doesn’t mean that he will be effective. This injury can have a huge impact on everything from a player’s lateral movements to their explosiveness. It’s hard to be a productive running back if these two things are compromised. Right now his HPF (Health Performance Factor) is Below Average at 43%.

Look for the Chargers to spread the ball around and continue to keep Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson very involved in the both the passing and the running game. The more snaps they can give Gordon off to rest, the better. If they can win this one without using him too much, he should be much healthier by the Conference Championships. It’s a delicate balance between trying to win now and trying to make sure he is available if they do advance.