Melvin Gordon was close.
In fact, if it was a normal week, Head Coach Anthony Lynn indicated the running back likely would have played.
"He was very close," Lynn said. "He looked good pregame. Without having a full week of practice — if we would have played that game on Sunday, he probably would have played — but because we had the game Thursday and no full-speed practices, I didn't think it was wise to put him out there."
Instead, Gordon missed his third-straight game after spraining his MCL in Week 13's win over the Arizona Cardinals. While he would have loved to play, he totally understood and respected Lynn's decision.
"I feel good," Gordon said. "Not 100 (percent), obviously. I don't think that's a secret, but I'm good enough to get out there. I was really close (vs. Kansas City). He (Lynn) was just trying to look out for what's best for me and what's best for the team, and he felt that it would be selfish to put me out there, (have) something potentially happen and lose me for the rest of the year. He was just thinking about the team. I understand it."
However, just because he understood it didn't make watching it from the sideline any easier.
Gordon's been itching to get back on the field, and now that that appears to be on the horizon, he's eager to knock off the rust and get ready for a playoff run.
He's hopeful that can come as soon as Saturday night vs. the Baltimore Ravens.
"Everything is crucial for us," Gordon said about a game in which the Chargers are battling for the AFC West crown and the Ravens fighting to get into the playoffs "It's going to be tough, man, but (hopefully I) can go out there and knock off some rust. Get myself ready for the playoffs."
That's good news for the Bolts and bad news for the rest of the league.
Few running backs have impacted the game this season like Gordon, who ranked among league leaders in several categories before missing the past three games. Overall, he's toted the rock 153 times for 802 yards (5.2 ypc) and nine touchdowns while catching 44 passes for 453 yards and another four scores.
While disappointed to miss time in the regular season, Gordon is pumped to suit up in the postseason for the first time in his career.
After all, he believes he was born for playoff football.
"I'm built for these type of games," he said. "That's why I play football. It's your squad against my squad. Loser goes home. I like that because you get everybody's best, and obviously they get your best. You see what type of player you are. When everyone's watching, you see what you're made out of."
Funny enough, this marks the first time Gordon will play in a playoff game since his high school days, when he was forced to play running back and cornerback.
"They had me playing both ways," he said with a laugh. "I was tired. I don't have to do that now. I don't have to play both ways now. I've got a lot better players around me, so I'm excited…. I'm just glad I've got another opportunity to come out here with my teammates and showcase what we've got in the playoffs when it's do or die."