Mike Williams status for Chargers’ opener in doubt

COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) — It wouldn’t be a Los Angeles Chargers training camp without an injury to a top player. This time, wide receiver Mike Williams is hurt.

Coach Anthony Lynn didn’t put a timetable on when Williams would be able to return and tried not to speculate on his status going into the scheduled Sept. 13 opener at Cincinnati.

“He’s going to be out for a while. I would hope he could return for the opener but I don’t know right now,” Lynn said Tuesday.

This is the first time in recent years the injury bug has hit one of the team’s offensive skill position players. Defensive end Joey Bosa (2018) and safety Derwin James (2019) missed openers with foot injuries.

Williams sprained his right shoulder on Sunday when he landed awkwardly while trying to dive for a ball. He posted his first 1,000-yard season last year (49 receptions for 1,001 yards) and led the league with a 20.4 yards-per-catch average. The 6-foot-4, 218-pound receiver presents matchup problems downfield and tied for the league lead with eight receptions over 40 yards.

Williams’ absence would be a setback for Tyrod Taylor, who takes over as the Chargers’ starting quarterback. Without Williams, Los Angeles would be more reliant on screen passes to running back Austin Ekeler and working the middle of the field with tight end Hunter Henry.

Williams, who is going into his fourth season, and Keenan Allen are the Chargers’ two most experienced receivers. After that, it falls off precipitously. Darius Jennings is going into his fourth season but was utilized mostly as a returner the past two seasons with Tennessee. He has 27 career receptions. Jason Moore had two catches as a rookie last season while Jalen Guyton and Tyron Johnson spent most of last year on the practice squad,

Los Angeles also drafted Joe Reed in the fifth round and KJ Hill in the seventh.

NOTES: Lynn said the Chargers are not in the market for a safety despite Baltimore releasing Earl Thomas. Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley was Thomas’ coordinator his first three years in the league. … C Mike Pouncey is back with the team after missing a couple days due to a family matter. Lynn said that Pouncey has been attending team meetings but did not say when he would return to the field.

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