SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 11: Tigth end Antonio Gates #85 of the San Diego Chargers carries the ball against the Minnesota Vikings during the fourth quarter at Qualcomm Stadium on September 11, 2011 in San Diego, California. The Chargers defeated the Vikings 24-17. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Antonio Gates, who hasn't played since Sept. 18 due to plantar fasciitis in his right foot, returned to practice Monday for the Chargers. He's missed three games, and also had the benefit of last weekend's bye-week for additional rest. He's pleased with the progress that he's made but acknowledged that he's yet to truly test the injury. From the Associated Press:
"We're making progress, but ‘One day at a time' has been our motto since this thing started," Gates said. "But it's encouraging that we're taking some steps in the right direction. The tough part is that I can go out and feel good, but the scar tissue is always in jeopardy of popping. There's always a danger of a minor setback. There's no cure that can fix the problem, especially with the force I use to run around and make plays. You just hope that you don't tear something and have a setback."
Norv Turner is pleased to see his star tight end on the practice field but has not yet made a decision about his availability this coming Sunday against the Jets:
"I'm excited to have him out there. I'm hopeful he can play, but I don't want to put that burden of a guarantee on him or us. Hopefully, he can continue to work this week and play on Sunday."
Tight end Randy McMichael saw extended action in Gates' absence, tallying 11 catches for 105 yards the last three games.