Dave Ball updates his injury status

Last season Jamal Williams led all Chargers defensive linemen in sacks with four. It took him 15 games to accomplish that feat. Back in the preseason, Dave Ball registered four sacks in only four games, and was the NFL's sack leader during the exhibition season. Now that he is almost fully recovered from a toe injury suffered during the game at Atlanta last season, he is looking forward to getting some sacks when they count.

"I feel like I'm 100 percent," Dave Ball said. "Everybody is just being really careful and wanting to make sure I don't re-injure it or anything, so I won't do any running until May. But it's been good lifting with all of the other guys. I've doing been other training too, like riding the bike and walking the hills and things like that."

His excitement to get back on the field was heightened once he got a look at the Chargers opponents for this upcoming season. "I have a lot of friends on the Cowboys, and traveling to D.C. will be fun because I know some people there," Ball said.

He also stood by his statement from an interview conducted last off-season, when he said he would like his first official sack to come against New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning. Hopefully the schedule-makers will place that game early on the Chargers schedule, because Ball is ready to make an early impact. After seeing the Chargers defensive line struggle to generate pressure late in the season, he is determined to come back and make a difference.

"I think if I were there at the end of last season I could have definitely helped out with the pass rush," said Ball, as he recalled the frustration of being sidelined for such a large portion of last season's turnaround.

Ball is now eager to get back onto the field with his fellow defensive linemen. These players share a unique bond, as defensive line coach Wayne Nunnely rotates his players in and out more so than most other line coaches. This is a method that Ball enjoys, as it keeps the players fresh and prevents players from squabbling over playing time.

"I think it's a good thing," said Ball of Nunnely's rotational scheme. "It's basically one unit plays one series, then the other [unit] plays the next. I don't want to play every down, so I like it."

This deployment method also requires every player on the defensive line to be accountable for their performance out on the field. This has helped to develop a unique bond between the defensive linemen, one which Ball has enjoyed greatly.

"Guys like Adrian Dingle and DeQuincy Scott have been great," Ball said. "They are nice guys and are really friendly even to new players just coming in. If you ask them anything, they will always give you the right answer. They are just cool guys who are extremely friendly."

Luckily for Chargers fans, it is not only the bond between players that is getting stronger. With Ball expected to be ready to go full-speed by the beginning of training camp, the Chargers' pass rush is getting stronger as well. With the team returning the league's 31st ranked pass defense, the healthy return of Dave Ball represents a big boost for the Chargers.

Michael Lombardo can be reached at Lombardo@SanDiegoSports.net

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