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Austin Ekeler returns to practice Friday for Week 1

The Chargers RB1 returns to practice on Friday in hopes of playing against Washington.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers Training Camp Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Friday AM UPDATE: Ekeler returned to practice on Friday, per The Athletic’s Daniel Popper. We’ll need to wait until the official injury report comes out to see how he is listed, but we’d expect he will be questionable and a game-time decision against Washington this Sunday.

Thursday PM UPDATE: Ekeler was listed as a DNP at practice for a second straight day, per Field Yates.

Thursday AM UPDATE: Ekeler is dealing with a hamstring issue and worked off to the side on Wednesday, but the team remains optimistic he can play, per PFF’s Doug Kyed. We should know more after his Thursday practice status is revealed.

Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler missed Wednesday’s practice with a hamstring injury, according to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter. He was on the sidelines riding a stationary bike as the team gets ready to open the season on the road this week against the Washington Football Team.

The game isn’t until Sunday afternoon, so it’s still too early to rule out Ekeler. However, he missed six games last season after the team placed him on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. It’s a concern to see that flaring up before the season even starts. The Chargers could also just be taking it easy with their top running back. The team rested their starters through the preseason, including Ekeler. Keep an eye on the situation as the week progresses.

The Chargers have been clear that they plan to use a handful of running backs this season, but Ekeler is the lead guy. He led the team with 116 carries and 530 rushing yards, despite playing just 10 games last year. He also caught 54 passes for 403 yards and two touchdowns. Joshua Kelly handled most of the backup work while he was out last season, and the team also has Justin Jackson and Larry Rountree to plug in if they’re without Ekeler.