Virus keeps Chargers LB Merriman out of practice

SAN DIEGO -- San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman missed practice Thursday for the third consecutive day because of a virus, and his availability for the preseason game Saturday against the St. Louis Rams is in question.

Height: 6-4

Weight: 272

College: Maryland

Experience: 3

Merriman said he had strep throat and a heavy fever. He had trouble breathing while battling the illness but said he was feeling much better Thursday.

Merriman also has been dealing with an ailing knee but did work out on the side Thursday afternoon.

"He's running around and had a good workout today, so we'll see where he is this weekend," Chargers coach Norv Turner said.

Turner said he hasn't decided how long starting quarterback Philip Rivers or backups Billy Volek and Charlie Whitehurst will play against the Rams.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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