Austin Ekeler kickstarted the 2023 season with an excellent effort against the Miami Dolphins. He and Joshua Kelley held up a potent Chargers rushing attack that paved the way for the offense to score 34 points.
Ekeler tweaked his ankle late in that game and at the time it did not seem like a big deal. However, Ekeler missed practice all of the ensuing week and did not travel with the team in Week 2 against the Tennessee Titans.
Brandon Staley provided a bleak update after the Week 2 loss that gave Chargers fans no real information about when Ekeler might return. Ekeler himself said in an interview that the injury wasn't anything that would keep him out for several months, which had Chargers fans (and fantasy owners) hopeful that he would return sooner rather than later.
Unfortunately, it does not appear that Ekeler will be returning as soon as possible. While the star running back was out at Chargers practice on Thursday, he did not dress nor practice with the team.
Austin Ekeler's Week 3 status remains unclear for the Chargers
The Chargers have not committed one way or the other about if Ekeler is going to play on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. That being said, Chargers fans and fantasy football managers should be preparing for Ekeler to miss this game against Minnesota.
The fact that Ekeler has not been practicing at all this week, mixed with how Staley provided an update, indicates that he and the team are taking time with this injury. There is no reason to rush back from an injury this early in the season and that seems to be the mindset for Ekeler and Co.
As of right now, the best-case scenario is probably that Ekeler would return in Week 4 and be on a limited snap count. However, it would not be that surprising if Ekeler and the Chargers executed an abundance of caution and had him miss Week 4 as well. If he did that, he would have an extra week of recovery with the bye in Week 5.
Regardless, while nothing is official, the chances of Ekeler playing in Week 3 are slim to none. Joshua Kelley is likely going to have most of the work on Sunday and fantasy managers are going to have to turn to someone else.