The closest thing the Chargers have to an answer for Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce is questionable for Sunday.
Safety Derwin James Jr. was hurt in practice Thursday and unable to work Friday because of what the team formally called an ankle injury.
James was designated as questionable to play against the Chiefs when the teams meet at 1:25 p.m. PDT Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.
Coach Brandon Staley, who referred to James’ ailment as “a lower-leg type injury,” said the veteran was hurt on “a competitive play” during the Chargers’ session Thursday in Costa Mesa.
Kelce, a four-time All-Pro and eight-time Pro Bowler, has been particularly problematic for the Chargers of late, topping 100 yards receiving in three of the last four meetings between the teams.
They’ve had their most success in slowing Kelce when James has been available.
“You gotta defend Travis with your whole team anyway,” Staley said. “So it’s not going to be any one person. Derwin is certainly one of the few guys that has gone toe-to-toe and can meet that matchup.
“We’ll have to make adjustments if he can’t go. But our guys are going to be up for the task.”
The Chargers will be without their other starting safety, Alohi Gilman, who will miss his third consecutive game because of a heel injury.
The team already is down two reserve safeties — JT Woods, who is on the non-football injury/illness list, and Raheem Layne, who suffered a season-ending knee injury Monday against Dallas.
Next up on the depth chart are Dean Marlowe, a veteran who began the season on the practice squad and has appeared in four games, starting the last two, and AJ Finley, an undrafted rookie who has played in two games.
The Chargers also claimed safety Jaylinn Hawkins off waivers from Atlanta this week. A fourth-round pick out of Cal in 2020, he has appeared in 48 career games with 22 starts.
Hawkins joined the team Thursday but was unable to make it through his first practice because of what Staley called dehydration. Hawkins returned Friday and was deemed fit to go against Kansas City.
“It’s our job to get him ready,” Staley said. “He’ll be ready to play.”
On the positive side injury-wise for the Chargers, edge rusher Joey Bosa was not given a designation for the game, meaning he’ll play. Bosa has been dealing with a fractured left big toe that caused him to miss a game.
“It’s a play-by-play thing,” Bosa said. “I think I’ll still be on — not really a snap count — but I might not be playing 50, 60 plays just because I do have a fracture in my toe. You don’t want that to get worse, obviously.”
Bosa was injured when he was accidentally stepped on in a game in Minnesota last month.
The Chargers have several other prominent names who also came off the injury report Friday, including quarterback Justin Herbert (left middle finger fracture), left tackle Rashawn Slater (ankle), defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day (knee), center Will Clapp (knee) and tight end Donald Parham Jr. (wrist.)
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