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Thursday, September 11, 2008
Tomlinson misses another practice, but expects to play vs. Denver

Associated Press

SAN DIEGO -- LaDainian Tomlinson missed his second day of practice Thursday because of a sprained right big toe but said he'd be back Friday as the San Diego Chargers continue preparing for their game Sunday at Denver.

LaDainian Tomlinson

Tomlinson

"I'm all right; I will practice tomorrow," Tomlinson said. "It's just a sprained toe, that's all. But you try and get as much rest as you can and you have to take it. It's the heat of the season -- you don't really have time. You got games; it's not preseason any more. On Sunday, I think I should be pretty good."

The Chargers need Tomlinson, the two-time defending NFL rushing champion, to be on his game to avoid an 0-2 start. If the Chargers lose to the Broncos, they would fall two games off the pace in the AFC West pace, a division they've won the last two years.

The Chargers were upset 26-24 by the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

Tomlinson wasn't the only missing Chargers Pro Bowl player who missed practice Thursday.

Cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who led the NFL with 10 interceptions last year, is still nursing a sore hip. He's yet to take a practice snap this week and there is no guarantee he will Friday.

"I think he is doing all right," coach Norv Turner said. "We'll see tomorrow if he can practice."

If Cromartie can't go Sunday, he would be replaced by either rookie Antoine Cason or Cletis Gordon.

Left tackle Marcus McNeill, a two-time Pro Bowl player, remains sidelined with a neck injury. He did work on the side with the team's strength coaches, but has yet to be cleared to practice. McNeill, who hasn't played in any of the exhibition or regular-season games, hopes to put on pads next week.

"That is what we are shooting for but I don't want to be disappointed," he said. "There is no timetable right now where I say I'll be back by a certain date."

Tight end Antonio Gates (toe; hip) and center Nick Hardwick (foot) were limited in their work. Gates should play Sunday; Hardwick is out this week.