Chargers hopeful Keenan Allen will play Sunday vs. Seahawks

COSTA MESA — Officially, wide receiver Keenan Allen was listed Friday as questionable to play against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, moving slightly closer to playing for the first time since a hamstring injury forced him from the Chargers’ season opener against the Las Vegas Raiders on Sept. 11.

A decision about his participation likely won’t be made until just before kickoff of Sunday, Chargers coach Brandon Staley said. The Chargers would like him to play, of course, but with their bye week upcoming, additional rest, recovery and rehabilitation wouldn’t be the worst thing for him.

“No, not at all,” Allen joked when asked if he wanted to play Sunday. “I think early in the week, I was still a little sore, having not run for maybe a week. I think it’s knocking off the rust, knocking off some scar tissue. It felt good. If I’m on the fence, I don’t even think it’s going to be a questionable thing.

“It’s either yes or no at this point. If I can, I will.”

Allen said Friday’s practice “went great,” although his participation was limited.

“I did my reps,” he said. “It was solid. Felt good at game speed.”

Of sitting out the past five games, he said, “It’s been frustrating at times, but nothing like the last two injuries (a kidney injury in 2015 and a knee injury in ’16), where I had no shot at coming back. I definitely kept my head in it, kept working, let everyone else handle the rest.”

The Chargers will have a familiar look if Allen does play against the Seahawks, teaming him again with top receiver Mike Williams. If Allen can’t play, the Chargers will be without him, Jaylen Guyton (ACL tear) and Joshua Palmer (concussion) at the receiver spots plus tight end Donald Parham Jr. (concussion).

Guyton was hurt in the Chargers’ loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 3. Palmer and Parham were injured during Monday night’s 19-16 overtime victory over the Denver Broncos. Guyton will be out for the rest of the season. The returns of Palmer and Parham are still to be determined.

Michael Bandy, Jason Moore and Richard Rodgers would move up on the depth chart, joining Williams and DeAndre Carter, if Allen can’t play. Bandy has reached the limit of three elevations from the practice squad, so a move would have to be made to get him on the active roster.

“We’ve come this far,” Staley said when asked about balancing the desire for a speedy recovery for Allen and the need to protect a valuable player, a five-time Pro Bowl selection and a favorite target of quarterback Justin Herbert, for the long term.

“Patience is a virtue. We won’t put him out there unless we know he can go. How much he goes, obviously, it’s his first game back, so there will be some type of pitch count in his first game back if he goes. We’ll see.

“If there’s any apprehension, he won’t go.”

Allen’s value to the Chargers’ receiving corps can’t be underestimated. He had a career-high 106 receptions last season, topping 100 catches for the fourth time in the past five seasons. He fell three receptions shy of 100 in 2018, but still averaged 12.3 yards per catch.

Allen was selected to the Pro Bowl for the fifth consecutive time last season.

“He’s one of the most productive players at his position in the last 10 years,” Staley said of Allen, who had four catches for 66 yards in the first half against Las Vegas. “What he allows you to do is change the math in all ways in the way people play against you. To get him back would be really big for us.”


Defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day was listed as questionable to play because of an ankle injury, but Staley said he would play against the Seahawks because “he’s a rugged guy. He’s not going to miss this one.” … Rookie Isaiah Spiller won a practice battle with Larry Rountree III to be running back Austin Ekeler’s backup while Joshua Kelley is sidelined by an MCL sprain. … Kelley, Palmer, Parham and kicker Dustin Hopkins (hamstring) were ruled out for Sunday. Taylor Bertolet, who filled in for Hopkins while Hopkins was sidelined by a quadriceps injury on Oct. 9 against the Cleveland Browns, will handle the kicking duties Sunday. Bertolet made three field goals and three extra points in his NFL debut against Cleveland.