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AFC West news and notes

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

Upon my return Sunday's game in San Diego, I wanted to catch up with some of the news of the day on what appears to be a fairly sedate day in the AFC West:

The big news is out of Oakland, where JaMarcus Russell said he is improving. Also, running back Darren McFadden (who has missed three games with a turf toe injuries) and defensive end Derrick Burgess (who has missed five game with a triceps injury) both said they are closing in on returning. All three players may have a chance to play at Miami on Sunday.

Russell missed Sunday's loss to Carolina with tendonitis in his knee. Russell dealt with the issue in college at LSU. It flared up Thursday and he missed the final eight plays of practice that day. He didn't practice in Friday and he was the emergency quarterback Sunday as Andrew Walter started.

There's no guarantee Russell will be ready on Sunday but he is hopeful. Russell needs to get back on the field. He has struggled in his nine NFL starts. He needs all the experience he can get.

LaDainian Tomlinson had some interesting things to say about San Diego's lacking run attack. Tomlinson, who said he is now completely healthy after dealing with a turf toe injury since Week 1, had 78 yards on 22 carries against Kansas City. It didn't appear that Tomlinson had much burst in the game.

Read Tomlinson's comments and it is clear something is bothering him. Reading between the lines, it seems like Tomlinson thinks something could be done to improve the run game. The struggling Chargers surely need to figure out what it is because a sluggish running game is one of their several problems headed into Sunday's game at Pittsburgh.

Meanwhile, the Chargers have been informed their Sunday night home game against Indianapolis on Nov. 23 will not be flexed out and will remain the prime time game. Had San Diego lost to Kansas City, it wouldn't not have been a surprise if the game was moved out of the slot.

Denver star cornerback Champ Bailey said he is unsure if he will be able to play at Atlanta on Sunday. He suffered a groin injury at New England three weeks ago. Bailey's best-case diagnosis was a four-week recovery. He said he hopes to practice this week. Denver badly needs Bailey back. The Broncos are playing without all three of their starting linebackers.