Big win, bigger loss: Chargers lose Melvin Gordon to MCL knee injury in victory

Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn seemed to know he should have sat Melvin Gordon, who was nursing hamstring and knee injuries, on Sunday.

“Most starting runners this time of year are sore or something’s wrong,” Lynn said earlier this week, via ESPN. “So we’ll have to decide if it’s worth holding him back or just letting him go.”

Gordon convinced coaches to let him play on Sunday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter said. Lynn should have just sat his star running back.

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Gordon sprained his MCL in the Chargers’ 45-10 win over the Arizona Cardinals, according to Eric D. Williams of ESPN. That’s not good with a road game coming up at Pittsburgh next week. Gordon could miss at least one week, maybe more, and you wonder if it could have been prevented if he was pulled earlier in the win over the Cardinals.

Melvin Gordon was still in despite big lead

Gordon was hurt early in the third quarter on a lateral from Austin Ekeler. The Chargers led 28-10 at the time.

It’s a difficult situation for a coach. A 28-10 lead is a healthy one but not unbeatable. The Cardinals were unlikely to be the team to come back from 18 points down in the final 27 minutes, but imagine the heat on Lynn if he sat Gordon in the second half and the Chargers did blow the game.

Pulling Gordon at halftime probably would have been the right move, but not a slam dunk. Sitting Gordon entirely on Sunday to let him rest up might have been smart too, but Gordon reportedly insisted he could play.

No matter what, Lynn has to be kicking himself now.

Gordon could miss some time

Gordon is having a fantastic season, with 802 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground. His two scores were a big reason the Chargers had a commanding halftime lead against the Cardinals.

Because the Chargers blew a game last week against the Broncos, they’re still a game behind the 9-2 Chiefs in the AFC West. The Chargers have two more games before a massive showdown against the Chiefs on Thursday night, Dec. 13. Lynn has another decision now, on when Gordon will return.

But after Gordon’s injury on Sunday, Lynn might have the decision for next week’s game taken out of his hands.

Melvin Gordon scores against the Cardinals on Sunday. (AP)
Melvin Gordon scores against the Cardinals on Sunday. (AP)

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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