Gates a go?

The word from Chargers' Park was filled with smiles – Antonio Gates won't miss considerable time, if any.

"We have the good fortune of the football gods smiling on us," coach Marty Schottenheimer said.

Schottenheimer wasn't talking about Sunday's convincing win over the Buffalo Bills. While that 48-10 victory brought many joy in Charger Nation, it was the news on Monday that really gave the team a boost.

All-Pro tight end Antonio Gates was feeling upbeat Monday after leaving Sunday's win over the Bills with a sprained right foot. An MRI on Monday revealed no break, which confirmed the X-rays taken right after the injury on Sunday.

What it means is Gates won't be sidelined for a considerable length of time.

"My foot feels a lot better," said Gates, the team's leading receiver with 56 catches, 784 yards and seven touchdowns. "It's just day-by-day; I'm preparing to play this week."

That might be a tad too optimistic, but maybe not. Gates was moving considerably better than he was Sunday and looked and sounded like someone hell-bent on playing Sunday against the Redskins.

But he will know more later in the work when the Chargers start preparing for yet another East Coast trip.

"I really haven't tested my foot at all, it's been in this (walking boot) since the minute it happened," Gates said. "Wednesday will be first real test to see how it feels."

Gates suffered his first significant injury as a Charger after catching a third-quarter, 21-yard pass from Drew Brees. As Gates saw safety Lawyer Milloy close in from his left side, he tried to outrun trailing linebacker Angelo Crowell. Gates was caught by Crowell, who then fell awkwardly on Gates' right foot after Gates had planted it.

"Maybe if I was fast enough I could get away from him," Gates said, mocking his lack of speed. "That's my 5.0, 5.4 40 (yard dash)."

Gates said his foot went numb, then slowly felt better.

"The feeling came back and I was able to walk away and I was ready to get back in the game," said Gates, who set an NFL mark for tight ends last year with 13 touchdown catches. "As I got to the sidelines, it wasn't as well as I thought it was as I walked off the field. But (the medical staff) felt it was time for me to shut it down."


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