FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- LaDainian Tomlinson, after his second full practice in three weeks after injuring his left knee, said he felt fresh on Thursday.
For him, going into Week 13, that's unusual -- Tomlinson had over 300 carries a year from 2001-07. It was quite a workload, something that former Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer acknowledged recently.
Schottenheimer is at the New York Jets' practice facility often enough, where his son Brian is the Jets offensive coordinator, and the retired coach apologized to Tomlinson last time they met.
"Last week he said to me while I was in the training room, he said, 'I'm sorry kid, I just wore you out when you was young,'" Tomlinson said with a full-throated laugh. "And I said, 'Hey coach, I took it and I'm glad you gave me the ball.'"
Tomlinson expects to be utilized this Sunday when the Jets travel to Washington for a 1 p.m. game. He missed two games, including a Denver game when fellow running back Shonn Greene left with a rib injury. With five games left on the schedule and Greene still sore, Tomlinson could be used more extensively -- which he'd like.
"Yes, I do," Tomlinson said. "That was pretty much the gameplan for the year, to keep me fresh and down the stretch possibly increase my workload. So I am fresh and feeling good, so the coaches have that option, if they want to use me more."
So far, Tomlinson has 46 carries for 167 yards, compared to a Greene's 161 for 651. The veteran has more passing yards, 312 on 25 catches and an average of 12.5 yards a catch. In the Denver game without Tomlinson and Greene, the Jets had just 83 rushing yards, the lowest total since the loss in Baltimore where the Jets had 38 rushing yards.
"Obviously one of the things that everybody's always said about LT, although I thought he did a nice job late last year as well is, does he wear down?" offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer said. "I think that there are benefits to having been out the last two games. Obviously, he looks good. Like I said, we have to get him the ball, we have to get him involved."
Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley and Tomlinson could both be available in Washington. Tomlinson said he was nearly ready to go last week, but the team wanted to be cautious. He said judging from Monday, Tomlinson feels better than the years he was the main ball carrier in San Diego.
"For me, I notice ... everybody else running slow and I'm still running fast," Tomlinson said. "Quite honestly, more how your body feels Wednesdays and Thursdays, sometimes you're still sore. Where this year, I don't have anything going on other than I hurt my knee. But other than that I felt fresh."
"There's some different ways that we'll implement him and use him," Schottenheimer said. "Whether it's third down stuff, some different things that we've used, some formations and stuff like that. I think you'll see some of that stuff this weekend."
Jane McManus is a columnist and reporter for ESPNNewYork.com.