Chargers' Austin Ekeler, Derwin James doubtful to face Raiders

COSTA MESA, Calif. - The Los Angeles Chargers listed running back Austin Ekeler and safety Derwin James as doubtful Friday for Sunday's game against the Las Vegas Raiders.

Center Corey Linsley is listed as out for Sunday and will be placed on injured reserve Saturday with a non-emergent heart issue. Linsley will miss at least four games.

Ekeler, who suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 1, has been a limited participant at practice every day this week and has worn a brace on his right ankle. Ekeler said his ankle is improving, but he is still working toward being "100 percent" comfortable making turns and cuts without pain.

Ekeler said the Chargers' Week 5 bye will definitely play a factor in whether he plays Sunday.

"You don't ever want to miss a game, but when you're right up against the bye early in the season, it's like you know there's some time there to make sure that maybe it's manageable," Ekeler said Friday. "'Hey, let's get 100 percent' and then boom, ready to go after the bye. That's a two-week period, only one more game, so there's definitely some of that into it."

James suffered a hamstring injury in the fourth quarter of Sunday's win over the Minnesota Vikings and hasn't practiced this week. The Chargers have allowed the most passing yards in the NFL (1,079), and if James, who has made the Pro Bowl in the past two seasons, doesn't play on Sunday, the Chargers will be depleted at safety.

JT Woods, who played in James' place last Sunday, is ruled out with an illness. Chargers coach Brandon Staley said the team would rely on safeties Raheem Lane and Dean Marlowe.

Marlowe is on the practice squad but the team activated him to the main roster in Weeks 2 and 3. If the Chargers activate Marlowe on Sunday, they will be prohibited from activating him for the remainder of the season unless he is on the active roster.

Much of this week has been highlighted by cornerback J.C. Jackson's comments after Staley made the former All-Pro cornerback, who signed for five years $82.5 million last offseason, a healthy inactive Sunday's win. Jackson told reporters on Thursday that he was "confused" and added, "I don't know what's going on" regarding his benching.

"He probably doesn't agree with the decision," Staley said, "but the decision was communicated clearly, and the reason why. The acceptance of that is a different matter."

Still, Staley said that Jackson would play Sunday and that Jackson has handled the situation like a pro.

Also for the Chargers, outside linebacker Joey Bosa is questionable after missing practice all week with a hamstring and toe injury. He has played limited snaps since injuring his hamstring in Week 1 but has been effective with a team-leading three sacks.

Linebacker Eric Kendricks will play for the first time since Week 1. Kendricks has missed the past three weeks with a hamstring injury. He was signed in the offseason to help turn around a Chargers defense that allowed an NFL-worst 5.42 yards per carry in 2022.