Pro Bowler Gates officially shelved

The San Diego Chargers placed Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates on the injured reserve list Thursday.

There was no way Gates was going to play Sunday at Denver, anyway. Gates had hoped to return for the playoffs, but the Chargers were eliminated from the postseason in a loss at Cincinnati on Sunday.

To replace Gates, the Chargers signed fullback Billy Latsko. Running backs Mike Tolbert (neck, shoulder) and Jacob Hester (knee) haven’t practiced this week and might not play Sunday, so Latsko might be needed.

Gates had a terrific season before it was derailed by a nagging foot injury. He had 50 catches, 782 yards and 10 touchdowns in 10 games. Gates ikely won't play in the Pro Bowl, but he was unlikely to play even if he wasn't put on the injured reserve Thursday because of the injury.

Meanwhile, it looks like linebackers Stephen Copper (knee) and Larry English (foot) will likely not play Sunday. They haven’t practiced all week. Receiver Malcom Floyd practiced fully Thursday after being limited Wednesday with a nagging hamstring injury.

Update: I checked with a San Diego official who said Gates can be cleared to play in the Pro Bowl. He must be cleared by Jan. 18 to be able to play in the Jan. 30 game. Still, I’d bet he doesn’t play.