San Diego tight end Antonio Gates didn’t practice Wednesday because of a foot injury. He has been dealing with it for weeks. He still has a chance to play against Oakland on Sunday. He played against the Colts this past Sunday.
Linebacker Stephen Cooper (knee), receiver Malcolm Floyd (hamstring), receiver Vincent Jackson (calf) and running back Mike Tolbert were among the players not in practice Wednesday. Tolbert finished Sunday’s game despite his injury and Jackson will likely be out for a couple of weeks. Running back Ryan Mathews practiced fully and after missing the past two games with an ankle injury. Still, I’d expect Tolbert to start with Mathews backing him up if he can play. Tolbert has had back-to-back 100-yard plus games while starting for the injured Mathews.
For Oakland, cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha (ankle) and safety Tyvon Branch (shoulder) didn’t practice Wednesday. But the team is hopeful both can play at San Diego. Receiver Chaz Schilens, who has been dealing with foot and knee issues all season, practiced on a limited basis. He may be able to play some this season. Oakland quarterback Bruce Gradkowski has not given up on playing this season yet despite having a shoulder separation. Still, he said the injury is similar to the injury that kept him out for five weeks earlier this season. There are five games remaining, and it appears Jason Campbell will get the chance to remain the starter for the rest of the season.
Oakland receiver Jacoby Ford is No. 6 on ESPN.com’s Rookie Watch. There’s no denying the impact the dynamic Ford has had as a receiver and as a returner. The fourth-round pick from Clemson is becoming Oakland’s most reliable receiver. Ford was named the AFC special teams player of the month. Good choice. He returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in November.
Law enforcement officials released an investigative report on the suicide of Denver receiver Kenny McKinley. The report concluded that McKinley shot himself with a gun he legally bought from Denver receiver Jabar Gaffney months earlier. Gaffney reportedly told officials McKinley wanted the gun for his personal protection. McKinley was reportedly in major debt and borrowed a large amount of money from former Denver quarterback Tom Brandstater. This is a sad tale.
Kansas City cornerback Brandon Flowers was limited in practice Wednesday with a hamstring injury that kept him out of the Chiefs’ win at Seattle on Sunday. Rookie receiver/returner/running back Dexter McCluster is not on the injury report after missing five games with an ankle injury.
Denver coach Josh McDaniels said the team will work with noise elements in practice this week to prepare for playing at the New Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday.