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Johnson, Butler game-time decisions

SAN DIEGO -- The team’s leading pass-rusher with 3.5 sacks, San Diego outside linebacker Jarret Johnson, did not practice all week due to a hamstring injury.

But Johnson said there’s still chance he plays in San Diego’s Monday night contest against Indianapolis. Johnson is listed as questionable, and likely will be a game-time decision.

“Obviously when you’re not practicing, everything is mental,” Johnson said. “You’re trying to watch the guy that’s taking your place on the field, what things are giving him trouble and trying to prepare mentally for that spot.”

Johnson suffered the injury in the second half of his team’s loss to Oakland last week. Although Johnson did not get any team reps this week, San Diego coach Mike McCoy believes, if healthy, Johnson could play on Monday because of his experience in the scheme.

“With the veteran that he is, the way he knows the system inside and out and helps everybody on a day-to-day basis, that’s the flexibility you have with a veteran,” McCoy said.

Another important player defensively who is uncertain to play on Monday is inside linebacker Donald Butler. Tied for the team lead in tackles with 36, Butler missed a second straight day after he re-aggravated a groin injury that forced him to miss the Tennessee game three weeks ago, and is questionable for Monday’s game.

“Really I just have to continue to rest this thing and make sure I can fly around on Monday night,” Butler said. “It’s Week 6, so everybody’s going to be a bit banged-up, but I really want to be healthy enough so I don’t put the team in jeopardy in any way.”

Offensive lineman Chad Rinehart has been ruled out for a third straight week with a toe issue. Cornerback Richard Marshall (groin) and offensive lineman D.J. Fluker (calf) were limited in practice and are questionable for Monday’s game.

Offensive lineman King Dunlap (concussion) returned to practice this week after missing two games. He is probable for Monday.

“He’s been antsy,” McCoy said about Dunlap. “Obviously when you sit out from an injury like what he had, and you see the team doing what we were doing, you get antsy to get back out there to help your team win football games. It’s great to have him back out there.”

Along with Dunlap, running back Ryan Mathews (concussion), linebacker Manti Te'o (foot), cornerback Johnny Patrick (chest), cornerback Shareece Wright (hamstring) and offensive linemen Jeromey Clary (clavicle) and Rich Ohrnberger (groin) are all probable for Monday.

McCoy spent some time during practice talking with former NFL head coach Jon Gruden, in town to work the "Monday Night Football" broadcast as an analyst for ESPN.

“When he was the head coach in Tampa I was down in Carolina for a number of years when he was down there,” McCoy said. “So we had some great battles. ... It’s been great to get around him and talk to him. He’s a great football coach, and he’s great at what he does right now also in the broadcast both. And it’s good to talk to him.”