Los Angeles Chargers Wide Receiver Keenan Allen to Miss Thursday Game

Posted on: December 14, 2023, 08:29h. 

Last updated on: December 15, 2023, 09:39h.

Los Angeles Chargers star wide receiver Keenan Allen is nursing a heel injury and will sit out a Thursday Night Football divisional game against the Las Vegas Raiders.

Keenan Allen Chargers
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen, seen here hauling in a catch against the Denver Broncos at SoFi Stadium in Week 14, will miss Week 15 with a heel injury. (Image: Getty)

The Chargers also head into Week 15 without quarterback Justin Herbert, who is out for the entire season.

Herbert fractured the index finger on his throwing hand against the Denver Broncos on Sunday. He underwent season-ending surgery, and backup quarterback Easton Stick will earn his first start.

With Herbert’s injury getting most of the attention in Week 14, a banged-up Allen went overlooked. Training staff checked Allen inside the blue medical tent on the sidelines, but he returned to the game. Replays didn’t indicate a specific injury, which has since been revealed as a heel issue.

It’s unknown if Allen will miss multiple games or if the Chargers are sitting Allen because they have a quick turnaround on a short week with an appearance on Thursday Night Football. 

Allen Having a Record-Breaking Season

Even with a heel injury, Allen finished Week 14 with six catches for 68 yards. He set a new team single-season record with 108 receptions.

Allen racked up 1,243 yards this season with seven touchdowns. He’s one score away from tying his career high of eight touchdowns, which he achieved twice as a rookie in 2013 and during a big season in 2020. Allen leads the NFL in receptions and is ranked #4 in receiving yards.

Allen missed six games last year because of multiple injuries. He averaged 100-plus receptions in the previous five seasons between 2017 and 2021.

ESPN’s fantasy football portal ranked Allen #3 out of all wide receivers this season. Week 15 marks the start of fantasy football playoffs, and bummed-out managers must overcome the loss of a top-tier wide receiver like Allen and a dangerous offensive weapon in Herbert.

The Chargers will have wide receiver Joshua Palmer back in the lineup after he recovered from a sprained knee. Palmer last played in Week 9.

Rookie wide receiver Quentin Johnston, a first-round pick out of TCU, struggled with multiple dropped balls this season and was slow to gain Herbert’s trust. Stick and Johnston developed chemistry in recent weeks after the two got a lot of reps in practice together as backups.

Johnston caught three passes from Stick on Sunday after Herbert exited the game. Johnston led the Chargers with 91 receiving yards, which marked a career-high. In limited action this season, Johnston caught 29 passes for 333 yards and one touchdown.

Betting the Chargers/Raiders

The Raiders (5-8) are -3 favorites against the Chargers (5-8) in Las Vegas on Thursday Night Football. The Chargers defeated the Raiders, 24-17, in Week 4 in Los Angeles. The Raiders narrowly covered the spread as a +7.5 underdog.

The Chargers are 5-8 against the point spread this season, and the Raiders are 6-6-1 ATS.

The Kansas City Chefs lost two games in a row but still hold down first place in the AFC West with an 8-5 record. The Denver Broncos (7-6) are only one game out of first place and in the thick of the playoff hunt.

The Chiefs are the consensus favorite to win the AFC West at -1600 odds, and the second-place Broncos (+750) are their closest competition. The Chargers (+13000) and Raiders (+25000) are long shots to win the division.

Raiders interim head coach Antonio Pierce didn’t name an official starting quarterback against the Chargers. Rookie Aidan O’Connell struggled in the last couple of games, but he’s expected to remain in the lineup in Week 15.

After the Raiders fired head coach Josh McDaniels on Halloween, Pierce benched quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in favor of O’Connell. Garoppolo had a 3-3 record as a starter, but Pierce wanted to mix up things with a new quarterback.

O’Connell started in Week 9 and led the Raiders to an inspiring victory against the New York Giants. O’Connell has a 2-4 record as a starter this season, but the Raiders lost his last three starts. They averaged only 10 points per game in the previous three weeks, including an ugly 3-0 shutout against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

The Raiders also have veteran backup Brian Hoyer on the roster. But they lost in his only start of the season.