Austin Ekeler has become an integral part of the LA Chargers offense since the departure of Melvin Gordon. Ekeler has proven himself to be one of the best dual-threat running backs in the league, gaining popularity because of his impacts on fantasy football.
While Justin Herbert is the star of the offense and Keenan Allen is his co-star, Ekeler is extremely important to the team. That is why it is such a big deal when Ekeler gets injured.
Austin Ekeler is not injury-prone but as a hard-hitting running back he has picked up some injuries in his career. And just so it is clear, we are only including significant injuries that either had an impact on his play or resulted in him missing regular-season games. If he sat out a preseason game or missed some practices (which has happened) it is not included. That is typically a case of a team being cautious.
Austin Ekeler injury history and updates:
Austin Ekeler hamstring/knee injury, 2020
The 2020 season was the first in which Austin Ekeler had full reigns at the running back position. Melvin Gordon signed with the Denver Broncos and Ekeler was tasked with taking over as the RB1 instead of splitting time at the position with Gordon.
Ekeler enjoyed a really strong start to the 2020 season but was unable to put together a complete year due to injury. Ekeler tore his hamstring in Week 4 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as well as hyper-extending his knee.
Ekeler wound up missing six games on the injured reserve with the injury, returning in Week 11 against the Buffalo Bills. Ekeler wrapped up the season in a strong fashion, although the hamstring injury has resurfaced at times. Ekeler missed some practices in 2021 with hamstring issues but has not missed any games.
Austin Ekeler neck injury, 2018
This injury was the culmination of big hits on Austin Ekeler and forced him to miss two games at the end of the 2019 season. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Ekeler took multiple stingers that started to take their toll and eventually wound up aggravating his neck to the point where he could not play.
The injury occurred in Week 13 and resulted in Ekeler missing Week 14 and Week 15. Week 14 was the infamous two-point conversion win over the Kansas City Chiefs that nearly led to the Chargers winning the AFC West.
Austin Ekeler fractured left hand, 2017
Austin Ekeler fractured his left hand in Week 15 against the Kansas City Chiefs that essentially ended his season as a running back. Ekeler actually played the final two weeks of the season with a cast on his hand but did not play any offensive snaps.
He was unable to carry the ball but was able to still contribute in special teams, which he was doing at the time with Melvin Gordon being the RB1. Ekeler played a combined 10 special teams snaps the final two games of the 2017 season.