|The Chargers are eyeing the return of tight end Antonio Gates and running back Ryan Mathews for Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons. (US Presswire)|
The San Diego Chargers continued to receive good news on injuries Friday. Neither TE Antonio Gates (ribs) nor RB Ryan Mathews (clavicle) suffered a setback after a physical padded practice Thursday. Gates is listed as probable and Mathews is questionable, but the signs look good that both will play Sunday against the Falcons.
Gates continued to wear a vest to pad his injured ribs but said the difference in pain between last week and this week was night and day.
Coach Norv Turner said Mathews was listed as questionable because it was his first full week of practice since he broke his clavicle on Aug. 9, and he was waiting to see how Mathews felt at game time after a heavy work week.
Floyd humble to be the guy: If there was an award for the most humble and down-to-earth WR in the NFL, it should go to Malcom Floyd. Floyd leads the team with 175 receiving yards and already has four receptions for 20 yards or longer. QB Philip Rivers said Floyd was one of the most underestimated receivers in the league. “I wouldn't say that,” Floyd said. “I know I am an above-average player. I am not a guy who goes out and brags like that. I am just a guy that goes out and tries to do my job. Whatever the coach asks me, I am going to go out there and do it full speed and the best that I can.”
Floyd came into the league with Rivers in 2004 but was an undrafted free agent. Floyd was the No. 1 receiver in 2010 when WR Vincent Jackson was in a contract dispute, but injuries limited that opportunity. Floyd is thankful to once again be in the position to be the go-to receiver. “I get to contribute in a bigger way than I have in the past,” Floyd said. “I started off on the practice squad and slowly worked my way up to this point. As long as I can contribute and play well, be productive and healthy, I think good things are to come.”
Gates and Gonzalez are friendemys: Gates and Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez may battle it out on Sunday, but they will remain friends. Gonzalez, a 16-year veteran, continues to produce at a high level with 14 receptions for 189 yards and two TDs this season. “He has done those things consistently,” Gates. “Most guys don't understand it's difficult to do it consistently for the span he has been doing it at.”
Gates and Gonzalez developed a friendship by hanging out at Pro Bowls together. “We just respect one another,” Gates said of their relationship. “He likes to mention that he is the creator. I said ‘You can probably create it, but I perfected it.' It's all fun and love because we are great friends. We have been cool now for six or seven years. It's good to see him playing well.”
Possible roster shuffle: Last week, CB Greg Gatson was called up off the practice squad on Saturday to provide depth because the Chargers only have three healthy corners. Gatson was then waived Monday and re-signed to the practice squad. Gatson said he will find out Saturday if he will be called up again. If Gatson is called up, OT Reggie Wells would be the most likely player to be released. Wells was released last Saturday and re-signed Monday.
Wright looks for early return: CB Shareece Wright suffered a high-ankle sprain on the opening kickoff in Week 1. Wright did not play last week and is listed as out for Sunday. Earlier in the week, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported Wright would miss four-to-six weeks. But Wright said he is feeling better and hopes to be out only one more week.
Injury Report: LT Jared Gaither (back) and CB Wright (ankle) are out. RB Mathews (clavicle) is questionable. RB Curtis Brinkley (knee), TE Gates (ribs), TE Dante Rosario (calf) and WR Eddie Royal (shoulder) are probable.
What's next: The Chargers host the Falcons at Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday at 4:05 ET. Per NFL rules, the game will be blacked out in a 75 mile radius from San Diego due to in sufficient ticket sales.
Game preview from a Charges perspective: Chargers Game Preview: Week 3 vs. Falcons
Game preview from a Falcons perspective: Falcons Game Preview: Week 3 vs. Chargers