Melvin Gordon ruled out for Chargers vs. Chiefs

Melvin Gordon wants to play, but he'll have to wait until the 2017 season kicks off.

Despite the San Diego Chargers' running back practicing Thursday while wearing a full knee brace, the team ruled him out for Sunday's season finale against the Chiefs. Gordon missed the past two games with hip and knee injuries.

The second-year tailback was just three yards shy of a 1,000-yard rushing season and was hoping to play for pride in a meaningless Week 17 tilt.

"It's just about not quitting, bro," he told the San Diego Union-Tribune Thursday. "And we've been bad. And I want to finish, man. That's all this is."

Gordon said watching his team lose to the previously winless Browns was torture and he wants to get a chance to close out the season.

"So," he said, "if I can go out there, and I can just help try to contribute, I've got to at least try. I've got to try at least."

Most teams shut down star players that are dinged up in any fashion in a season finale with no playoff consequences on the line, and that's the case with Gordon and the Chargers.

Gordon even admitted he wouldn't be 100 percent if he played in Week 17 -- who is? -- but said he felt "a lot better" than previous weeks.

"If I felt like I would go out there and I was gonna get hurt, then I wouldn't go out there. I know my body better than anybody around here," he said. "So, I know if I can't go. It's a difference between being injured and hurt.

"So, in my mind, if I can go out there and I can help make plays, I'm gonna play. If I go out there and I feel like I can't do what I need to do and I'm hurting the team, then I'm out."

Gordon understood that coach Mike McCoy and team brass would be heavily criticized if he suffered a setback in a meaningless game that cost the stud running back offseason work or potentially a game to start next season.

"I think (McCoy) kind of understands that too," Gordon said. "That's why they're kind of hesitant on everything right now. But, if I'm stressing I can go, man -- let me go."

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