The Chargers began their regular season practice schedule on Wednesday with one full practice. During the regular season schedule, media are restricted to viewing the first 20 minutes of practice and are prohibited from using any form of electronic communication from the field.
Hardwick day-to-day: C Nick Hardwick suffered a concussion in practice against the Cowboys on Tuesday and did not participate Wednesday. “Nick is feeling better today,” coach Norv Turner said. “Hopefully the symptoms clear and he is cleared soon.”
Hardwick will not travel with the team for their preseason game against the Vikings on Friday.
Will Rivers play? The O-line will be missing starters Hardwick and LT Jared Gaither (back spasms) on Friday and LG Tyronne Green (foot) may not play either. This has led many to wonder if the risk of QB Philip Rivers playing against the Vikings outweighs any potential rewards.
Turner indicated Rivers will play to give him experience with Friday's starting O-line. “This is a group that we could be playing opening day with,” Turner said. “They are guys that certainly would be dressed on opening day where we are at now. So I have my confidence in the guys who will line up on the offensive line.”
However, Turner also indicated Rivers may not play. “We have a great plan for Philip,” Turner said. “He will be ready to play [opening day] if we didn't play him again in the preseason. He has played an awful lot of football.”
Royal returns: WR Eddie Royal returned to practice on Wednesday. Royal has missed most of training camp with a leg injury and missed the last few days because of family issues. Royal believes it will not take long for him and Rivers to get back in sync.
“I felt like the foundations that was built in OTAs [was solid],” Royal said of working with Rivers. “It is just building on that. Every rep that I get with Philip is going to be important. I just need to focus in on the little things that I missed out on.”
Mathews improving: RB Ryan Mathews caught and threw footballs during rehab work. Mathews broke a clavicle just 13 days ago in the preseason opener against the Packers. He is expected to be out four to six weeks but has said his goal is to play in Week 1 against the Raiders. It's still a long-shot that Mathews will be ready for the season opener, but his recovery has been impressive.
Novak vs. Kaeding: K Nick Novak missed the only field goal (35 yards vs. Packers) the team has attempted in preseason but said he can still beat out Nate Kaeding for the kicking job. Novak explained that the clock had expired before the snap on the kick and coach Norv Turner apologized for not calling a time out. Novak said he has a stronger leg than Kaeding and will prove it on kickoffs in the last two preseason games. Both kickers have been accurate in practices.
Injury updates: DE-DT Garrett Brown (left foot), RB Curtis Brinkley (strain), LT Gaither (back spasms), DT Antonio Garay (left foot), CB Marcus Gilchrist (hamstring), RB Mathews (clavicle), TE Dante Rosario (unknown), G Johnnie Troutman (pectoral) and ILB Demorrio Williams worked out on the side and did not practice. Also did not practice: WR Vincent Brown (ankle), G-T Brandyn Dombrowski (foot, cyst), LG Green (foot) and C Hardwick (concussion). WR Royal (leg, personal) and CB Shareece Wright returned to full participation. Wright tweaked a hamstring in practice on Monday. Hardwick was the only new addition to the non-participants list. Turner said he is hopeful that Green will play on Friday.
What's next? The Chargers will finish their preparations for the Vikings with a walk-through practice on Thursday morning and then fly to Minnesota in the afternoon.