Tomlinson returns to practice; Rivers, Gates still out

SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego Chargers are slowly getting back their injured players ahead of the AFC Championship Game Sunday against the undefeated New England Patriots.

Although quarterback Philip Rivers sat out for the second straight day with a sprained right knee, two-time NFL rushing champion LaDainian Tomlinson returned to practice Thursday after sitting out Wednesday to rest his hyperextended left knee.

"I think we're making progress," coach Norv Turner said. "L.T. was able to practice and we had some guys moving around. I think we'll get a couple more guys practicing tomorrow."

Tomlinson and Rivers were hurt in Sunday's 28-24 upset win over Indianapolis.

Turner said Tomlinson looked good.

Rivers "was wanting to go out and throw some and take some drops today," but the team's trainer didn't think it was appropriate," Turner said. "So we'll see where it is tomorrow."

Also sitting out were tight end Antonio Gates (toe) and defensive tackle Jamal Williams (ankle).

Outside linebacker Shawne Merriman was limited again due to an illness.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

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