Tomlinson says he's 'doubtful'

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

As expected, San Diego star running back LaDainian Tomlinson did not participate in practice Wednesday as the Chargers began preparation in earnest for Sunday's AFC championship game at Pittsburgh.

Tomlinson said Wednesday it is "doubtful" that he will play Sunday due to a groin injury.

He didn't play in the second half of the wild-card game against Indianapolis. Darren Sproles is poised to take Tomlinson's place. Monday, Tomlinson said he hoped to be able to test his injured groin on the field prior to the game. He is not so sure anymore.

"I don't know," Tomlinson said in a statement provided by the Chargers. "All this time I've been taking it day by day. I think, depending on the training staff and where they think I am, if they think I should, obviously that's when I'll try to push it. We've talked about it. That's why they have me listed as doubtful is because the thing that I did last week, it wasn't really ... I couldn't do much. Obviously, it's not feeling much better this week, it kind of puts you in a position where you have to be listed as doubtful."

Tomlinson's postseason was affected by a knee injury last season and he had a turf toe that bothered him for the first half of this season.

"You know, it's been a tough year, 2008," Tomlinson said. "I mean, it has. The whole year, you look back at the playoff game against New England and got hurt there and this whole year I've pretty much been banged up. So it's been a tough year. But at the same time, to me, I always carry it as a fluke just because I've played so many years and haven't been banged up, haven't really missed any time. But here I am the last year, it's been hurt more than I ever have. Now I can say that I'm getting old and maybe that has something to do with it or I can say it's been a fluke, which I still think I'm in great shape. I think I'm just going to have to wait and see what happens next year and the year after that and see if indeed it's because of my age and I'm getting older."

San Diego tight end Antonio Gates also didn't practice Wednesday due to a high ankle sprain. Still, he is expected to play at Pittsburgh. He didn't practice all last week and ended up having a game-high eight catches in the win over the Colts.

Gates wore a protective walking boot all last week and he wore it the first couple of days this week.

"I'm trying to do as much as I can to feel as close as I can to 100 percent on Sunday," Gates said.