Chargers Cherish Extra Day of Rest

One Charger in particular is ecstatic the team is playing Monday night. And it's not because the entire NFL world looks in that evening.

For running back LaDainian Tomlinson, it gives his ailing toe another day of rehabilitation.

The Chargers, and Tomlinson, have tried to downplay the injury he suffered in Sunday's season-opening loss to the Panthers. They collectively shrugged when asked about it, assuring the concerned that he would be fine for Sunday's game in Denver.

Instead, the great Tomlinson was limited to 10 carries in one of the most heartbreaking losses in recent Chargers' history.

That is why this week is one that Tomlinson will embrace. He gets an extra 24 hours -- at least -- to get his toe right and help the winless Chargers get back on the right track.

"This will be a week that I can get a lot more treatment," said Tomlinson, the NFL's two-time defending rushing champion who's yet to gain 100 yards in a game this season. "I've got an extra day.

"Hopefully, the treatment and the rest will put me pretty much where I want to be. Hopefully, next week I'll be able to be more productive but also play a little bit more."

A healthy Tomlinson is music to the ears of a Charger Nation still wringing their hands over Sunday's loss in Denver.

If his toe is better thanks to the extra rest, Tomlinson can get back to doing what he does best: gobble up yards and lead the Chargers to a victory.

"Have some more carries, and do pretty much what I have always been able to do," he said.


--QB Philip Rivers continues his great start -- although the team sits in the AFC West basement at 0-2. Rivers threw for a career-high 377 yards and three touchdowns in Sunday's loss. He's looked very solid for two straight games.

--RB Darren Sproles showed the incredible quickness that makes him a threat every time he touches the ball. He scampered 103 yards for a touchdown on a kickoff and later raced 66 yards on a short pass for a score. If Tomlinson's toe continues to bark, look for Sproles to get a chance to bite slow-footed defenses.

--TE Antonio Gates is biting his lip and playing through the pain in his big toe. He's far from the Pro Bowl-caliber player he was before being hurt last year, but he is still a threat -- especially on third downs. Seven of his eight catches this year have resulted in a fresh series of downs.

--WR Chris Chambers continues to build on his relationship with Philip Rivers and is the first wideout the quarterback looks for. Chambers had a team-high 83 receiving yards and two touchdowns in Denver.

--WR Vincent Jackson is another benefactor to having Chris Chambers on the field. Jackson led the Chargers with six catches in Denver, with a long of 21.

--FB/RB Jacob Hester, a rookie, has fallen out of the rotation, not getting a carry Sunday in Denver. He did return a kick for 20 yards, with the Broncos trying to avoid kicking to Darren Sproles.

--WR Buster Davis has been inserted as the punt returner as the team attempts to save the wear and tear on the smaller Darren Sproles. Davis, a disappointment after being picked first last year, returned two punts for 15 yards. Davis was a healthy inactive for the season opener.

--LT Marcus McNeill (neck) is getting close to being cleared for the practice field. He could get the OK as soon as Wednesday, although there is no guarantee. He hasn't played in any preseason or regular-season games with a spine injury.

--SS Clinton Hart is going to play with a broken left hand on Monday night. He suffered the injury in the Denver game and had surgery on it last Monday.

--CB Antonio Cromartie tries to rebound from a horrible game in which the Pro Bowler showed his immaturity. He was flagged on four different plays and was basically out of sorts for most of the game. Cromartie, who is nursing a sore hip, said he let his emotions get the better of him.

--FS Eric Weddle is being in the wrong spot and worst time. For the second straight week, he was asked to help cover a receiver before he made the go-ahead catch and failed once again. Weddle's start has some concerned, but the Chargers will stick with the first-year starter.

--DT Jamal Williams continues to be rotated in and out with more regularity as the team tries to save his battered knees. Williams has yet to play at the level the Chargers are accustomed to, which is among the reasons the run defense has been shaky.

--OLB Shawne Merriman had surgery on the two torn ligaments in his knee and will soon begin the long road of rehabilitation. Merriman, a three-time Pro Bowler, is on IR and lost for the season.

--OLB Shaun Phillips has found the going more difficult without Shawne Merriman drawing attention on the opposite side of him. Phillips had one tackle Sunday and has yet to record a sack.

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