Chargers TE Gates doubtful for Thursday

Sunday, San Diego Chargers star tight end Antonio Gates said he thought he needed to practice some before he gets on the playing field.

After missing three days of practice, Gates is now doubtful to play Thursday night against San Francisco with a nagging foot injury. Gates has missed three of the past five games, including Sunday’s win over Kansas City, because of the injury.

Unless Gates unexpectedly plays, expect Randy McMichael to start again for San Diego. The Chargers have been used to playing without Gates and several key players on offense, so with a second straight week of McMichael playing and practicing, the Chargers should be pretty comfortable in a critical game against the 49ers. San Diego is 7-6, and it trails Kansas City, 8-5, by one game in the AFC West with three games to play. The team is hopeful Gates can play in the final two games of the season.

Linebacker Larry English is doubtful to play with a foot injury. Receiver Malcom Floyd is questionable with a hamstring injury that has been bothering him for two months. Floyd is questionable to play, but the team is hoping he can play Thursday. Fellow receiver Legedu Naanee has practiced fully all week and he seems to finally have a handle on the hamstring injury that has been bothering him for months.

If the Chargers have Vincent Jackson, Floyd and Naanee on Thursday, they should be able to withstand the loss of Gates.