© Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive end Joey Bosa and defensive back Kemon Hall have been ruled out of the Chargers' Week 16 game against the Texans after being placed on the team's reserve/COVID-19 list, coach Brandon Staley told reporters Monday. 

Bosa and Hall are two of nine Chargers players on a list that also includes star running back Austin Ekeler and center Corey Linsley. Ekeler was placed on COVID reserve Wednesday along with wide receiver Jalen Guyton.

Changes to COVID-19 protocols were recently implemented this week that makes it easier for vacationed players to return to play after testing positive for the virus. Vaccinated players who test positive for COVID-19 can now return to the field if:

  • They have two PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests that are either negative or have a CT (cycle threshold) of 35 or greater. 
  • One PCR test that is either negative or has a CT value of 35 or greater, and negative Mesa test taken without 24 hours of the PCR test. 
  • Two negative Mesa tests. 

Prior NFL test analysis revealed that players with CT values at 35 or higher do not transmit COVID-19 and therefore are not contagious. 

If Ekeler can't play, the Chargers' workload at running back will be split between running backs Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley. Jackson rushed for 86 yards on just 13 carries in last Thursday's overtime loss to the Chiefs. Jackson has rushed for 239 yards on 42 carries this season. A fourth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Kelley has rushed for 95 yards on 28 carries this season. 

A five-year veteran, Ekeler has rushed for a career-high 10 touchdowns this season. He also caught seven touchdown passes while amassing 1,347 total yards. A three-time Pro Bowler, Bosa has 9.5 sacks and a league-high six forced fumbles this season.