Report: Gates eyes return by playoffs, if Chargers make it

Chargers tight end Antonio Gates, who's fighting through a torn plantar fascia, likely would be healthy enough to play if the team reaches the playoffs, but not before, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Friday.

"I think that's kind of the goal," Gates said Thursday night after the Chargers' 34-7 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.

With the win, the Chargers (8-6) pulled within a half-game of the first-place Kansas City Chiefs (8-5) in the AFC West. The Chiefs visit the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.

Gates missed four of San Diego's last six games with a variety of injuries, and he played in two games with an ankle sprain and turf toe in his left foot. The six-time Pro Bowl pick still is the Chargers' leading receiver with 50 catches for 782 yards and 10 touchdowns this season.

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