Gates hopes to get back on field soon

The San Diego Chargers are close to having a fully healthy offense.

Running backs Mike Tolbert and Ryan Mathews each had 66 yards on the ground and receivers Malcom Floyd and Vincent Jackson each made their presence felt after dealing with injuries.

Yet, there is still a key figure missing: superstar tight end Antonio Gates.

Gates missed Sunday’s 31-0 win over Kansas City. It was the third game he has missed in the past five games with a lingering foot injury. Had the Chargers lost to the Chiefs and been eliminated from contention in the AFC West, there would likely be no way Gates would play on a short turnaround Thursday night against San Francisco.

But the 7-6 Chargers are now a game behind Kansas City, 8-5, and Gates is going to try to play Thursday.

The problem is he hasn’t been practicing. He missed all of last week and it may be a stretch for him to practice this week and be ready to play Thursday. But Gates isn’t excited about the thought of playing against the 49ers after missing two weeks of practice.

“You need to practice,” Gates said. “You need some practice time.”

Gates is unsure what his status will be, but he made it clear as long as the Chargers still have a chance to go the playoffs, he will be trying to get ready.

“It’s killing me not to play,” he said.