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Melvin Gordon misses practice with ankle injury, expects to play Sunday

SAN DIEGO – Rookie Melvin Gordon did not practice for the San Diego Chargers on Wednesday because an ankle issue, according to the team’s injury report, just three days after being benched for fumbling twice in the San Diego’s loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Gordon left the game in the first half to go to the locker room and have his ankle checked. On his first series back in the game, the former Wisconsin star fumbled for a second time and did not return to the field.

Gordon dealt with an ankle injury during exhibition play, missing the second preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals.

If Gordon is not healthy enough to start on Sunday, second-year pro Branden Oliver would likely start at running back for the Chargers.

However, Gordon said he expects to play this week, and that this week’s injury is not related to a lingering ankle issue he dealt with earlier this season.

Gordon also said he was not taken out of the game because of an injury against the Packers.

“I am eager to go out there and prove to myself and everyone that I can take care of the football,” Gordon said. “And I can go out there and do the things needed.”

Gordon also said he understands that defenders will come after him more now that he’s put the ball on the ground.

“Holding the ball is all mental,” Gordon said. “You’ve got to know when you’re going through the trenches that guys are pulling, reaching out from every direction. You’ve got to understand that.

“From here on out, I have to be mentally locked in on that and just know that guys are trying to feed their families, so they’re going to be trying to get that ball however. I’ve got to understand that, and I’ll be clean on that.”

Along with Gordon, safety Eric Weddle (groin), inside linebacker Manti Te’o (ankle), receiver Keenan Allen (hip), guard D.J. Fluker (ankle), tackle Chris Hairston (ankle) and cornerback Craig Mager (hamstring) did not practice.

Tight end Antonio Gates also did not practice Wednesday because of a knee injury.

The Chargers did get some good news, with starting left tackle King Dunlap (concussion), left guard Orlando Franklin (ankle) and center Chris Watt (concussion, groin) returning to practice on Wednesday. The trio had missed three straight starts.

Slot receiver Stevie Johnson also returned to practice after missing two games with a hamstring injury.

Outside linebacker Tourek Williams did work on a side field for the first time since suffering a broken foot against the Dallas Cowboys in the preseason opener on Aug. 13 and appears close to a return.