NFL roster cuts: AFC | NFC

Tomlinson deals with another playoff injury

January, 3, 2009
1/03/09
4:31
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

SAN DIEGO -- Chris Mortensen's report that LaDainian Tomlinson has a more serious injury than expected certainly puts his ability to significantly help the Chargers in their wild card game Saturday night against visiting Indianapolis in doubt.

Still, there is a chance Tomlinson will play. He will try to show the San Diego training and coaching staff he is able to play in pre-game warm-ups. Tomlinson hasn't practice all week. The Chargers will likely try to put him on the field to see how much he can play before backups Darren Sproles and Jacob Hester take a bigger role.

Remember, Tomlinson was injured last season in the playoffs. He had just two carries in the AFC title game against New England. Tomlinson caught grief for not playing with a knee injury while San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers played in the game despite a tearing his ACL the week before.

Tomlinson is a proud player and he admitted earlier in the year it bothered him that he caught heat for not playing much against the Patriots. He will try to play Saturday night. Have no doubt about that.

The Chargers also may be without star tight end Antonio Gates. He has an ankle injury. Like Tomlinson, Gates didn't practice all week. Both players were banged up against Denver last week.

Like Tomlinson, Gates was hurt for the playoffs last season and was unable to give his full effort. Thus, San Diego will again not be at full strength.

Tomlinson and Gates are coach Norv Turner's top options on offense. Now, quarterback Philip Rivers may have to rely on other players such as receivers Vincent Jackson and Chris Chambers as well as Sproles and Hester.

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