Gates slowed by plantar fascia injury, uncertain vs. Broncos

SAN DIEGO -- Antonio Gates is getting frustrated with the torn plantar fascia in his right foot that could sideline him for a second straight game.

And for the fantasy geeks who are wondering, the San Diego Chargers' star tight end really doesn't know if he'll be able to play Monday night against the AFC West rival Denver Broncos.

"That's probably the most-asked question, anyway, can I play, so they can see if they can drop me," Gates said Wednesday. "I just try to keep them informed. I try to tweet some things here and there. I try to keep them updated."

In short, not much has changed for Gates, who sat out practice again. He did some running and exercises in the pool.

"It's a rehabbing, healing process, man. It's brutal. I did some running today, but obviously I'm not running the way I would have to run on Monday. I just have to wait and see."

Gates missed the Chargers' victory at the Houston Texans on Nov. 7, and the Chargers had their bye last weekend.

"This is kind of coming off a two-week rest period. For some reason, I'm just in a situation where I really don't even know how this thing is going to play out, really," Gates said. "It's frustrating for me because I'm normally in a situation where I play and then I come back. But when you have that two-week rest and you still have to rehab almost as if you've played a game, it gets frustrating because I want to be out there and I want to try to do things to help.

"I remember saying we were going to turn this thing around, and I meant that. The days I was going out there doing whatever I could to play, I knew those days were going to make me look back on this season."

The Chargers have won two straight to rebound to 4-5. Kansas City and Oakland are tied for the AFC West lead at 5-4, and the Broncos are last at 3-6.

Gates has been Philip Rivers' favorite target, with 40 catches for 663 yards and nine touchdowns.

San Diego's other tight ends are Randy McMichael and Kris Wilson. McMichael had two touchdown catches in the 29-23 win at Houston.

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"It's a situation where I want to be a part of it and I want to help, but I understand that there's a difference between helping and hurting your team," Gates said. "I think that's a decision I'm going to have to make from this point on, day in and day out, as I try to get better. Am I a better player than Kris or Randy, with the thing that I'm dealing with? That's something I'm going to have to decide on my own. That's something I have to feel. That's asking a lot, trying to go out and do something at 80, 85 percent and be better than Kris and Randy."

Gates said he'll do whatever he can to get back on the field. "It's not recovering as fast as I would probably want it to, in a sense, but who's to say I won't play? Obviously they've got things to try to decrease the pain, whatever they've got to do to help me play in the game. But I'm dealing with something different. It's not the pain tolerance, it's the fact that it is a tear."

Wide receivers Legedu Naanee and Malcom Floyd both practiced and said they expect to play. Naanee has missed four games and Floyd three, both with hamstring injuries.

Kicker Nate Kaeding said it looks good that he'll be able to return after missing three games with a groin injury.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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