O-line Beat Up As Chargers Prepare For Cowboys
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Right tackle D.J. Fluker was the only starter on the offensive line practicing Wednesday as the team began preparing for the Chargers’ game with the Dallas Cowboys.
Otherwise, the line was made up of a mixture of backups as the Chargers compensate for a wave of injuries.
Not participating were left tackle King Dunlap, left guard Chad Rinehart, center Nick Hardwick and right guard Jeromey Clary. Dunlap has a concussion, Rinehart has turf toe, Hardwick has shin splints and Clary, a sore clavicle.
“There’s not time to worry,” quarterback Philip Rivers said. “However we end up when we get to Sunday, we have dealt with it in the past. We expect to win and expect to do well.”
Hardwick and Clary could play on Sunday.
But Mike Harris, who started nine games at left tackle last year, could be securing Rivers’ blind spot against Pro Bowler DeMarcus Ware. And journeyman Rich Orrnberger could be at left guard if Rinehart isn’t ready.
“Hopefully, some guys can improve and be well by Sunday,” Rivers said. “But if not, we’ll go. We’ve been through it before and I have confidence in the guys that would be called on.
“A few of the guys that are going to be called on are veterans — they have played a bunch of games. So we’ll be fine. You certainly hate to have guys injured in those spots, but guys are going to have to step up and go.”
Coach Mike McCoy said the starting five might not be known until Sunday.
“There might be some game-day decisions we have to make,” he said.
Rivers doesn’t know which players will be in front of him but he does know the Cowboys’ reaction to the Chargers’ plight.
“I can tell you Dallas doesn’t care,” Rivers said.
Notes: LBs Donald Butler (groin) and Manti Te’o (foot) returned to practice. … Indications are that wide receiver Malcom Floyd (neck), who didn’t practice, will miss Sunday’s game. … To add depth to the depleted offensive line, the Chargers signed guard/tackle Stephen Schilling and added guard Andrew Tiller to the practice squad.
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