Mike Williams may soon blossom into an impressive receiver. Or, he may spend most or all of his rookie season as a spectator.
Whatever the outcome, the Chargers expect their No. 7 overall pick out of Clemson to miss all of training camp while he continues to rehab the disc herniation in his lower back. Head coach Anthony Lynn was uncertain about the timeline of Williams’ recovery on Sunday, and would not rule out the possibility of season-ending surgery.
“I’m hopeful that he’s not (out for the year),” Lynn said. “But who knows? It could be. I don’t know.”
If Williams’ injury lingers, it would represent the latest blemish on the team’s checkered health history. The Chargers ended last season with 22 players on injured reserve, with cornerback Jason Verrett and receiver Keenan Allen both lost to torn ACLs.
Allen is practicing at full speed again, albeit with a protective brace over his right knee. His return should bolster a receiving corps that also includes 1,000-yard wideout Tyrell Williams — and perhaps mitigate the potential impact of the injured rookie’s absence.
“When he’s out there, yes, it will enhance that group,” quarterback Philip Rivers said of Mike Williams. “But, so far, thankfully, we have enough pieces to still feel like we’re in good shape.”
In addition to Williams, Verrett and safety Darrell Stuckey (knee) also remain on the active/physically unable to perform list.
Some other highlights from the Chargers’ first day of training camp:
Roughly 5,000 fans showed up for the Chargers’ debut at Jack Hammett Sports Complex, enough to fill up the reserved seats in the bleachers. Early in the session, former running back LaDainian Tomlinson grabbed hold of a mic and thanked the members of the crowd — a number of whom wore San Diego hats and shirts.
“You made me dig deeper,” the soon-to-be Hall of Famer said. “The passion that I played with was because of you.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“We’re still playing football. … We could do all this in space. It’d be the same thing.”
— Defensive end Melvin Ingram, when asked about new training camp facilities in Costa Mesa
At the end of the offseason program, the Chargers’ first-string offensive line still consisted of, from right to left: Russell Okung, Matt Slauson, Spencer Pulley, Kenny Wiggins and Joe Barksdale.
That unit looked mostly the same in Costa Mesa, though second-round rookie Forrest Lamp got some first-team reps…