Phillips defying the odds

While the Chargers await the results of Shawne Merriman's appeal for a positive testing for steroids, Shaun Phillips is busy getting healthy.

Phillips, who entered Sunday's game as the AFC sack leader with six, is optimistic he'll be back sooner than later.

In the wake of Sunday's 30-27 loss at Kansas City, Chargers officials were speculating Phillips would be lost for four-to-six weeks. But an MRI revealed if was a strain, and not a tear of the calf muscle, which has cut the recovering time in half, if not a quarter.

He could be back in as little as two weeks, and is talking about playing this weekend.

And it most be noted that Phillips' game is built around his tremendous burst and speed, so a calf injury means a lot to his motor.

Still, after the dark cloud that has found the Chargers this week, Phillips is trying to spread a little sunshine.

"It's not as bad as we thought," Phillips said. "Playing with pain and playing with discomfort are two different things. I can play with discomfort all day but pain it just isn't smart. You don't want to do nothing that is going to affect your career for a long time."

Phillips, a third-year pro, found the starting lineup after Steve Foley was shot by an off-duty police office. Phillips was enjoying a solid season, with 28 tackles, two forced fumbles and a fumble recover to go with his sacks.

Marques Harris will man the spot until Phillips returns.

"Shaun Phillips is a perfect example of filling in and doing a good job," the 6-foot-1, 231-pound Harris said. "And I want to do the same thing. I want to show the coaches they made a good decision in keeping me."

On Sunday, he made an impact when sacking Damon Huard and forcing a fumble which set up the Chargers' tying touchdown.

Harris was one of only two undrafted free agents to make the squad in 2005, after playing at Southern Utah State. Harris had eight tackles on special teams last year and two tackles in the regular defense.

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