By Dave Thomas
As the San Diego Chargers use their bye week to literally and figuratively lick their wounds after two tough defeats, some players are hoping the down time is just what they need to get back on the field.
The most notable of the injuries is kicker Nate Kaeding, missing the last three games due to a groin injury suffered last month, as the Bolts prepared to play at Kansas City. Kaeding, who has been temporarily replaced by Nick Novak, told Chargers.com this week that he is mending, with hopes of being back on the field in the very near future.
Meantime, the word on wide receiver Vincent Brown, who went down in the preseason with a broken ankle during the Dallas game, is that he is not ready at this point to get back out on the field for any form of practice, especially that involving contact.
Elsewhere on the offensive side of the ball, tackle Jared Gaither hopes to be back for the game at Cleveland next Sunday (Oct. 28). Gaither, who was not ready for the start of the season due to a preseason injury, sat out the loss to Denver this past Monday evening with a groin injury.
On the defensive side of the pigskin, cornerback Shareece Wright continues to hope he plays sooner rather than later.
Wright, who suffered a foot injury in the season-opening win at Oakland, had hope to see action against Denver. According to the Chargers, Wright is now targeting the game at Cleveland for his return to action.
What may be tougher than any physical injuries right now are the team’s mental injuries.
After blowing a 24-0 lead at home to Denver in the second half, QB Philip Rivers and Co. were left shaking their heads as to what might have been.
Rivers, responsible for six turnovers in the loss to the Broncos, will need to get his head back in the game, beginning with the team’s trip to Northern Ohio next weekend when they meet the Browns.
Earlier this week, head coach Norv Turner stated to the media that the playing call for Rivers will change somewhat moving forward, noting there would be some more “low-risk” plays called for his veteran quarterback. This comes as Rivers is on pace (nine to date) to surpass last year’s career-high 20 interceptions record.
When you throw in the disappointing loss a week earlier in New Orleans, you have a Chargers’ squad that could easily be 5-1, holding a sizable lead over the Broncos, who by far are their biggest competition in the division this season.
With games the next three weeks coming up against teams all with losing records (Cleveland, Kansas City, Tampa Bay), the Chargers need to take care of business, not looking back at what could have been.
The big question going forward, however, is will the physical or mental injuries get the best of San Diego over the final 10 games?
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Dave Thomas is a freelance writer covering all things Chargers. His work can be found on Examiner.com.