Chargers C Hardwick unlikely to return Sunday vs. Eagles

SAN DIEGO -- Center Nick Hardwick probably will have to wait at least another week to rejoin the Chargers.

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After participating in part of practice Wednesday, the former Pro Bowler missed Thursday's practice because of a sore ankle, and Chargers coach Norv Turner says it's unlikely that Hardwick will play Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.

"You try to take it in stride," said Hardwick, who was hurt during the season opener and had ankle surgery.

Back at practice were running back LaDainian Tomlinson and tight end Antonio Gates. Each sat out Wednesday's workout, Tomlinson because of a hip bruise and Gates because of a sore foot.

Outside linebackers Shaun Phillips and Shawne Merriman didn't practice. Phillips leads the Chargers with five sacks, and his readiness is of some concern, Turner said, because the linebacker also missed Wednesday's practice because of an ankle injury.

Merriman rolled his foot last week.

"I think he's all right," Turner said. "I think he's just a little bit sore, and it's probably good for him to not work today."

One Charger who is at full speed is wide receiver Vincent Jackson, who is tied for the NFL lead with seven touchdown catches and is first with an average of 17.2 yards per reception.

"Vincent is playing at a tremendous level," Gates said. "He's making it a lot easier for me. At this point, he's playing better than any receiver in the NFL."

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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