Chargers waiting to make decision on TE Hunter Henry
The third-year player returned to practice on Dec. 17 and took part in team drills this week as the Chargers prepared for Sunday’s AFC wild-card game at Baltimore. Henry tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during an offseason workout, is currently on the physically unable to perform list, and does not count against the 53-man roster.
The Chargers (12-4) will have a walkthrough in Baltimore on Saturday and have until 4 p.m. EST to make a roster move if they decide to play him. If Henry is not activated and Los Angeles defeats Baltimore, the Chargers would need to decide by Monday whether to place him on the roster or injured reserve. Teams have a 21-day window to make a decision once a player on the PUP list starts practicing.
Henry, the team’s second-round pick in 2016, was injured while running a route during a noncontact drill on May 22, the first day of organized team activities. He had surgery two weeks later and has been on the PUP list since the start of training camp.
Over his first two seasons, he has 81 receptions for 1,057 yards and 12 touchdowns and was expected to have a bigger role in the offense before the injury.
Henry’s emergence was a key reason the Chargers decided to part ways with Antonio Gates during the offseason. They did re-sign the 16-year veteran prior to the season opener to help fill the void after Henry was injured. Gates, Virgil Green and Sean Culkin combined for 48 receptions for 567 yards and three touchdowns during the regular season.
Even if Henry plays, coach Anthony Lynn said Henry’s participation would be limited.
“He would definitely be on a pitch count. You can’t put a player out there for an extended period of time who hasn’t played since last December,” Lynn said.
Nose tackle Brandon Mebane is doubtful as he remains away from the team due to a medical issue with his daughter. Mebane has not practiced all week but has played in the last two games after missing four straight. Damion Square would likely get the start if Mebane does not play.
Running back Austin Ekeler is listed as questionable with a groin injury sustained in last week’s win at Denver. Ekeler has been limited in practice all week, but Lynn was optimistic he would play.