- Eric D. Williams, ESPN Staff Writer
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SAN DIEGO -- Left tackle King Dunlap has suffered two concussions and a neck injury this season, so you can understand if the San Diego Chargers want to make sure he’s fully healthy before letting him take the field with a helmet and shoulder pads again.
“They’re just being a little more cautious with it, with everything [that’s happened],” Dunlap said.
Dunlap missed San Diego’s past two games with a neck strain. Before that, he missed two games earlier this season with concussion issues. Rookie D.J. Fluker has filled in and played solidly for Dunlap at left tackle, but would be better suited to return to his regular position of right tackle.
Dunlap said he’s trying to stay in game shape by running and working out in the weight room with the team’s training staff.
“I ran with Coach Kent [Johnston] today,” Dunlap said. “I just go in there and work out with him by myself, which is pretty rough when you’re the only one. But I just get in there and get with him every day, and that’s what kind of keeps me going.”
San Diego coach Mike McCoy provided no timeline for Dunlap’s return.
“We’re taking it day to day with King,” McCoy said.
Along with Dunlap, five other players did not practice for San Diego on Wednesday. They include tight end Antonio Gates (hamstring), center Nick Hardwick (neck), running back Ryan Mathews (hamstring), safety Darrell Stuckey (concussion) and receiver Eddie Royal (toe/chest).
Gates, Royal, Hardwick and Mathews should be fine and ready for Sunday’s game against Cincinnati.
“Some of those guys are resting,” McCoy said. “It’s that time of year. There are a number of guys that we’ve got to get as healthy as possible, and feeling as fresh as possible on Sunday. So there’s certain players that we will do that with for the rest of the year on a consistent basis.”
Linebacker Jarret Johnson (hand) returned to practice for the first time after missing last week’s contest at Kansas City. Johnson was a limited participant.
Outside linebacker Melvin Ingram enters his second week of practice. The South Carolina product remains on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list as he rehabs from anterior cruciate ligament surgery performed in May.
The Chargers have until Dec. 10 to place Ingram on the 53-man roster or leave him on the reserve PUP list.
“When Melvin’s ready to be out there we’ll put him out there,” McCoy said. “He’s getting better every day.”
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