Seven weeks have passed in the NFL season and the Chargers sit at 2-5. They are coming off probably their worse loss of the season against the Tennessee Titans – capped by Melvin Gordon’s fumble inches from the end zone
There haven’t been many positives in the season for the Chargers. That changed Wednesday when head coach Anthony Lynn announced left tackle Russell Okung will play on Sunday against the Chicago Bears.
"He won't be able to play the whole game," said Lynn. "Trent Scott will probably play the bulk of the reps like he's been playing, but Russell will work his way back in, and he has to get his game reps in right now.”
Okung has been recovering from a pulmonary embolism caused by blood clots since June. Last week, Okung told the media how grateful he was to his family, who helped him seek treatment and admitted that without them he wouldn’t be here today. He was placed on the non-football illness list and missed the first seven weeks of the season, as well as all of training camp.
“It would be great to have him back out there,” explained Rivers. “I know he (Okung) is excited and he brings more just like (Mike) Pouncey brought more than on the field. Just him being in the mix and in the huddle… the whole deal will be a positive.”
Two weeks ago, the Bolts lost center Mike Pouncey for the year with a neck injury. With Okung out as well the offensive line had been missing the kind of veteran leadership that allowed them to be a productive group last season. Okung’s return means they will gain some much-needed experience.
If the Chargers do rotate both linemen, they both will need to be on top of their game. The next test features Bears defensive end Khalil Mack, who leads a Chicago front that is known for putting pressure on the quarterback.
During Okung’s medical absence Trent Scott started at left tackle and did a serviceable job. So much so that Lynn said on Wednesday that when Okung becomes the full-time starter the coaches will allow Scott to compete for another starting spot.
• Did not practice: S Nasir Adderley (hamstring), DT Cortez Broughton (illness), DT Justin Jones (shoulder), DT Brandon Mebane (knee). Limited: DE Melvin Ingram (hamstring), RB Justin Jackson (calf), DT Damion Square (hamstring), FB Derek Watt (knee). Full: Michael Badgley (groin), LB Uchenna Nwosu (hip), LB Denzel Perryman (ankle).