“The guys came out and really had an active practice,” coach Norv Turner said. “There is still some soreness [with] playing in a very physical Monday night game. I was impressed that they came out with the energy that we had. I think they are getting excited about playing our home opener.”
Mathews in pads: The door has been cracked opened for the possibility of RB Ryan Mathews playing Sunday. He fully dressed for practice Thursday for the first time since he broke his right clavicle in the preseason opener Aug. 9.
Mathews was cleared for contact but said he really wasn't hit during practice. He was limited during team period and skipped a drill on the blocking sled during individual period. “That's the [coaches'] decision,” Mathews said. “That sled can sometimes come down in awkward positions and they didn't want to chance it.”
It's difficult to see Mathews playing Sunday. He has not fully participated in a practice in more than five weeks, which increases his chances of suffering a new injury or reinjuring his shoulder.
But Mathews said he's where he wants to be in terms of potentially playing. “Ultimately, it's coach Norv's decision.”
Gates likely to play despite not practicing: TE Antonio Gates (ribs) was expected to return to practice Wednesday but took his second day off. “Antonio is sore,” Turner said. “He wasn't able to go today. Hopefully he will go tomorrow.”
Gates went to the locker room but returned to play in Monday's game. There were multiple occasions in the last two seasons in which Gates missed practices during the week but played while he was battling a plantar fascia issue. Gates appeared fine in the locker room. He will likely participate in the walk-through Friday and play Sunday.
Johnson, same as he ever was: Through his first four seasons (2008-11), Titans RB Chris Johnson rushed for more yards (5,645) than any player. Johnson rushed for a career low 1,047 yards in 2011 and was limited to 4 yards on 11 carries against the Patriots on Sunday.
Chargers OLB Jarret Johnson doesn't understand the decline. He sees the same player on tape while preparing for this week's game as he has in past seasons. “I really don't know what is going on,” Johnson said. “He is still the same guy. He still has the same elusiveness and same speed. He's a home-run hitter. You can't let him get started because he will make you look bad in a hurry. What's changed? I don't know, but you have to prepare for his best.”
Jammer not limited by surgery: CB Quentin Jammer underwent surgery on his right thumb Tuesday after injuring it in Monday's game. Jammer returned to practice Thursday and is expected to play Sunday.
Jammer flew around the field during the game and made several hard hits, including seven tackles (six solo) and defensed two passes. Defensive coordinator John Pagano said Jammer would be able to continue to play at a high level despite having his hand in a cast. “It happened I believe in the first quarter early,” Pagano said of the injury. “[Jammer] said it is not a bothersome thing. That shows what type of veteran leader he is. I don't see it being a problem.”
Wright unlucky and out: CB Shareece Wright will not play Sunday after he sprained his right ankle during the season's opening kickoff Monday night. “It's unlucky making the tackle on the kickoff and then not being able to play after that,” Wright said.
Wright saw limited playing time during his rookie season in 2011 because he missed most of training camp with a hamstring injury. He had a standout preseason this year with an INT, sack and a FF.
Wright is hopeful he will not miss much time. “I feel like it's on the better side,” Wright said of the sprain. “After it happened, I thought it was a lot worse than what it was. I'm already feeling a lot better. I'm already walking on it.”
Garay should play: Starting NT Antonio Garay (foot) missed the final three preseason games and the season opener. Garay was limited in practice last week but has been full-go this week. Garay has a good chance of playing Sunday. “I think Antonio is getting better each day he practices,” Turner said. “I thought he had a good practice today.”
Dombrowski looks to contribute: G/T Brandyn Dombrowski is on the reserve-non football illness list with a foot cyst. He did not participate in offseason workouts or training camp. Dombrowski has a window of eligibility to join the active roster between the end of Week 6 and the conclusion of Week 9.
Dombrowski is hopeful he will be able to play this season but said that if he were to join the active roster, it would take a few weeks of practices before he could play. “Everyone else is so far ahead,” Dombrowski said. “It definitely takes a few weeks to get back in the flow of things.”
Practice Report: LT Jared Gaither (back spasms), Gates (ribs), CB Shareece Wright (right sprained ankle) did not practice. Mathews (clavicle) was limited. WR Richard Goodman (concussion) and CB Quentin Jammer (right thumb) returned to full participation.
What's next: The Chargers will conclude preparations for their home opener vs. the Titans with a walk-through practice Friday morning.