Chargers' Antonio Gates reportedly has MCL sprain

The spate of injuries depleting the San Diego Chargers' offensive line is starting to spread throughout the roster.

Star safety Eric Weddle (groin) has been ruled out for Sunday's game versus the Raiders. Running back Melvin Gordon (ankle) and wide receivers Keenan Allen (hip) and Stevie Johnson (hamstring) are listed as "questionable."

Most importantly, eight-time Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gatessuffered an MCL sprain in the fourth quarter of last week's game in Green Bay, reports Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Dealing with a knee injury for the first time in his 13-year NFL career, Gates has also drawn the "questionable" tag for Sunday.

"Sunday is Sunday. You try to find a way to get out there," Gates said Friday. "If you can't, you'll make sure to let the coaches know you can't do it, give them a chance to pull someone else up or whatever the case may be. I'm very optimistic in anything I do because I understand this is football. But this is obviously something I've never had an opportunity to deal with. This is my first. We'll see how it goes."

It will be a shame if he misses an attractive matchup against a Raiders defense that has been torched by tight ends this season.

"We're looking at Antonio Gates and saying, 'How in the heck is this guy still playing at such a high level?' We know we're going up against a first ballot Hall of Famer," Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said this week. "The guy is a tremendous competitor, really a fine football player and continues to do a great job."

Del Rio won't know if he has to contend with Gates until the 35-year-old tests his knee in pregame workouts.

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