Thursday's Keenan Allen injury update is awful news for Chargers fans

Dallas Cowboys v Los Angeles Chargers
Dallas Cowboys v Los Angeles Chargers / Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages

Keenan Allen has been nursing a hamstring injury and has not played for the LA Chargers since the first half of Week 1's win over the Las Vegas Raiders. This has had a noticeable impact on the team's offense as Justin Herbert has lost his most reliable third-down outlet.

It looked like Allen was on pace to return in Week 4 against the Houston Texans as he finally returned to practice ahead of the game. However, in his first practice, he had to leave early with a trainer because of his hamstring and was quickly ruled out of the contest.

Things have not really improved on the practicing front for Allen since this happened. After missing Week 4, Allen did not return to the practice field early in the week prior to Week 5. That trend continued later in the Week, as Allen once again was inactive in Thursday's practice.

There is not much time between now and the Chargers' road game against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. Thursday should have been viewed as a checkpoint day for the Chargers and with Allen not participating, things are not looking pretty.

This Keenan Allen injury update gives him a slim chance of playing for the Chargers in Week 5.

Of course, nothing has been ruled official (at the time of writing this) and we could see a surprise return for the veteran wide receiver. But the last thing the Chargers want to do is rush Allen back from this hamstring issue and make it even worse. They are going to need him when things get going down the stretch, so being cautious with him is ideal.

The Chargers' offense has gotten better in operating without Allen. While it obviously is still not the same, this could be good for the Bolts in the long run. Herbert becoming more comfortable with other options in key moments is only going to help him once teams start taking Allen away from him in future games.

This still is frustrating for both Allen and the team, though. The injury did not appear to be all that serious initially, with Allen giving himself a small chance of playing the ensuing Thursday Night Football game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

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We have gone from a small chance of Allen playing four days later to him likely missing the next four weeks. With a big primetime divisional game in Week 6 against the Denver Broncos, the hope is that this will be his last missed game if he does indeed miss it.