COSTA MESA — The Chargers had 21 days to decide if tight end Hunter Henry will be added to the 53-man roster to join the team’s playoff run. They’re down to one day.
“We have an extra day to take a look at Hunter and make the decision, and we’re gonna use it,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said on Friday during his news conference.
Henry declined to speak to reporters after Friday’s practice, keeping everyone guessing about his playing status, including the Baltimore Ravens, the team the Chargers face in Sunday’s wild-card playoff game.
The third-year tight end tore his ACL in May. He returned to practice on Dec. 17 and took first-team reps this week.
“I don’t know how much Baltimore has prepared for Hunter, but I don’t see it as an advantage,” Lynn said.
Lynn said Henry would be on a “pitch count” if he plays Sunday, but didn’t specify how many snaps or in what type of role.
“You never know,” Lynn said after a reporter asked if 10 to 15 plays was realistic for Henry.
Lynn also left the door open for an expanded role for Henry’s first game in more than a year.
“There is no tomorrow,” he said.
So with that, the guessing game continues, as Henry watch enters a 20th day.
Chargers running back Austin Ekeler had a much clearer answer for his playing status against the Ravens. Ekeler said he expects to play after being limited this week in practice with a groin injury he called “very manageable.”
“He was still limited today, but he looked much better,” Lynn said. “Absolutely hopeful he can play on Sunday.”
Lynn wasn’t as confident about the availability of defensive tackle Brandon Mebane. He didn’t practice this week because he’s in Nebraska with his ailing daughter, Makenna, who’s in neonatal intensive care.
“Right now (Mebane is) with his family, as he should be,” Lynn said. “He’s doubtful right now, but we’re going to be fine without him if he doesn’t make it.”
Defensive linemen Damion Square, Darius Philon and rookie Justin Jones will get extended playing time if Mebane isn’t available, according to Lynn.
Mebane, a Chargers captain, missed four games to be with Makenna after she was born in November. Mebane returned to play the final two games of the regular season.
The last time Henry played in a game was Dec. 16, 2017 against the Kansas City Chiefs. He missed the final three games last season with a kidney injury.
Henry was viewed as one of the Chargers’ best offensive players before being injured on the first day of organized team activities in May.
“We would have to see how the game is going,” Lynn said about Henry’s role. “But you can’t put a player out there for an extended period of time who hasn’t played since last December.”
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