Gates misses practice by design

San Diego Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates did not practice Thursday, but the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that it wasn't because Gates, returning from a nagging foot injury, suffered a setback, but rather to ensure that he could practiceFriday.

Gates has missed the past three games with the injury, practicing Wednesday for the first time in a month. The team hopes he can play Sunday at the New York Jets. I’d expect Gates’ practice schedule to continue to be flexible for the rest of the season as he deals with an injury that has bothered him for more than a year.

The Chargers could use Gates. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Gates was targeted 13 times in Week 1, the most of any player in the NFL that week. He had eight catches for 74 yards. It was his only full game of the season.

Meanwhile, receiver Vincent Jackson was a full participant in practice Thursday after being limited by a hamstring injury Wednesday. Jackson is expected to play Sunday.