NFL wild-card injury tracker: Chargers WR Mike Williams out with reported back fracture from meaningless season finale

The Los Angeles Chargers announced on Friday that wide receiver Mike Williams will not play in Saturday's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars because of a back injury.

According to multiple reports, Williams has a fracture in his back. Initial MRI and X-ray imaging didn't reveal the injury, but further testing ahead of Friday's announcement did, NFL Network and ESPN report. Williams is expected to be sidelined for at least 2-3 weeks, per the reports, meaning that he won't be available for the divisional round of the playoffs and perhaps beyond in the event that the Chargers advance.

The Chargers didn't confirm the specifics of Williams' injury, but noted that he's remaining in Los Angeles to receive further treatment while his teammates travel to Jacksonville for the game.

Williams sustained the injury in Week 18's loss to the Denver Broncos, a game that had no bearing on the Chargers' playoff circumstances. The Chargers clinched the No. 5 seed and the AFC's top wild-card spot when the Cincinnati Bengals beat the Baltimore Ravens earlier on Sunday. The Chargers lost to the Broncos, a result that didn't hurt their playoff standing. A win wouldn't have improved it.

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams (81) looks on before an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)
Mike Williams is sidelined with a reported back fracture. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Chargers head coach Brandon Staley opted to play multiple starters through three quarters rather than resting them and mitigate injury risk ahead of the playoffs. Williams is a top target of quarterback Justin Herbert's and one of the Chargers' most valuable offensive weapons when healthy.

In 13 games this season, Williams tallied 63 catches for 895 yards and four touchdowns. He's the team's No. 2 receiving option behind five-time Pro Bowler Keenan Allen. Josh Palmer and DeAndre Carter will play increased roles in Williams' absence.

Lamar Jackson officially ruled out

The Baltimore Ravens ruled Lamar Jackson out of Sunday's playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Friday with his lingering knee injury. The news arrives a day after Jackson alluded to his anticipated absence for the wild card game on Twitter.

Backup quarterback Tyler Huntley was upgraded to a full participant in practice on Friday with a shoulder injury. He's officially listed as questionable for Sunday's game. He was previously limited and missed Sunday's season finale against the Bengals.

Skylar Thompson named Dolphins starting QB

In an expected move on Friday, Miami Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel named Skylar Thompson as the team's starting quarterback for Sunday's playoff game against the Buffalo Bills.

The Dolphins ruled starter Tua Tagovailoa out on Wednesday with a concussion. Tagovailoa sustained the injury in a Week 16 loss to the Green Bay Packers. He hasn't played since and remains in concussion protocol with his third head injury of the season.

Backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has a dislocated pinkie on his throwing hand and won't be ready to start in Tagovailoa's absence. McDaniel didn't rule Bridgewater out for the game, though, noting that he's expected to be active as an emergency quarterback backing up Thompson.

With both quarterbacks injured, the Dolphins signed veteran Mike Glennon to their practice squad ahead of last week's season finale against the New York Jets. He's not listed on Miami's depth chart but could be elevated to Sunday's active roster.

Thompson, a seventh-round rookie, has seen unexpected action this season with Tagovailoa and Bridgewater injured on multiple occasions. In seven appearances including two starts, Thompson's completed 57.1% of his passes for 5.1 yards per attempt with one touchdown and three interceptions. He completed 19 of 33 passes for 166 yards with zero touchdowns, an interception and a lost fumble in Sunday's 11-6 win over the Jets that clinched Miami's playoff berth. The Dolphins won the game despite failing to score a touchdown.