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Injuries

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Sep 5, 2008.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    Sep 05, 2008
    Chargers.com

    Chargers General Manager A.J. Smith calls it the one topic that drives him absolutely crazy, and it just so happens to be the one that seems to garnering the most discussion recently around Chargers Park.

    Injuries.

    Many of the Chargers’ biggest names – Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates, Shawne Merriman, Nick Hardwick, Jamal Williams and now Marcus McNeill – have been slowed by an injury this offseason, but with Sunday’s regular-season opener now right around the corner, Chargers Head Coach Norv Turner is looking at the glass as half full.

    “Someone asked me yesterday if I felt like we had bad luck,” Turner said. “I said I felt fortunate because of the guys we knew in February had long roads to come back. They’ve all done a heck of a job getting back.

    “Fortune has nothing to do with it. It’s a bunch of guys putting in a lot of hours and a lot of time to rehab and do the things they have to do to go play again.”

    Hardwick (foot) and McNeill (neck) will not play Sunday, but Turner feels good about the 46 other players that will suit up on Sunday, particularly considering some of the names and conditions his players dealt with this offseason.

    “We knew last February that we were pushing it in terms of getting our guys ready,” Turner said. “What our guys have done to me is really just short of miraculous. Philip, LT, Gatesy, Vincent Jackson … they’ve fought through it and they're ready to go.”

    Each individual story has been well documented. Rivers had an inspirational recovery from his offseason knee surgery, so much that he’s been 100 percent for a couple months now. Gates, who underwent a toe operation in late February, took on a full load in practice this week. Jackson started training camp strong, missed time with a hamstring issue and bounced back to finish strong. Williams had both of his knees arthroscopically cleaned out and now he feels ready to go.

    The common thread in each player is that they all have at least three previous years of NFL experience under their belts, which gives Turner confidence in their ability to play Sunday like they’ve proven they can.

    “The guys that in the first game you don’t know how they’re going to play are the guys that have never played before,” Turner said. “I know the guys who have played here and have played at a high level here. I expect them to play at the same level they have. No one is going into this game any different than they went into the games they went into last year. I think they expect to play at a high level.”

    In addition to their track record, Turner’s feelings come from having seen each player dedicatedly preparing themselves for Sunday.

    “I think if I hadn’t been around here for the last two months watching them practice, I’d wonder,” Turner said. “I don’t have any doubts that those guys are geared up and hyped up and going to go play like they’re going to play.”

    Turner doesn’t expect any of his players to “hold back” or play tentatively once they are on the field.

    “While they’re playing, they’re playing,” Turner said. “The only thing we need to do is we have some depth at a couple of the positions and we have to monitor.

    “Obviously we’re going to monitor Gatesy’s reps. We’re going to monitor Merriman’s reps. Monitor, that means where Gates might normally play 70 plays, is he going to play 40 plays? How he feels in the game, where we’re going, all those different things.”

    When asked about injuries, coaches often defer and instead focus on the players that are available. Turner made it a point this week to note that so many of his athletes have no issues as they begin the season.

    “We had an outstanding camp,” Turner said. “We had probably 65, 70 percent of our starters not miss a practice. Of our 53-man roster, probably 35 of the guys didn’t miss a practice in camp. We’re an awfully healthy football team. Obviously we have some exceptions but we knew that in February.”

    Turner praised Hardwick’s effort to get back on the field, citing his improved mobility when working on the side. He simply didn’t have any answers on McNeill’s situation at this point but is optimistic his starting left tackle will be back on the practice field soon.

    As for the others, Turner is confident and ready to turn them loose.

    “This is a physical, aggressive game for great athletes and we have to let those guys use their abilities,” Turner said.


    Chargers General Manager A.J. Smith calls it the one topic that drives him absolutely crazy, and it just so happens to be the one that seems to garnering the most discussion recently around Chargers Park.

    Injuries.

    Many of the Chargers’ biggest names – Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates, Shawne Merriman, Nick Hardwick, Jamal Williams and now Marcus McNeill – have been slowed by an injury this offseason, but with Sunday’s regular-season opener now right around the corner, Chargers Head Coach Norv Turner is looking at the glass as half full.

    “Someone asked me yesterday if I felt like we had bad luck,” Turner said. “I said I felt fortunate because of the guys we knew in February had long roads to come back. They’ve all done a heck of a job getting back.

    “Fortune has nothing to do with it. It’s a bunch of guys putting in a lot of hours and a lot of time to rehab and do the things they have to do to go play again.”

    Hardwick (foot) and McNeill (neck) will not play Sunday, but Turner feels good about the 46 other players that will suit up on Sunday, particularly considering some of the names and conditions his players dealt with this offseason.

    “We knew last February that we were pushing it in terms of getting our guys ready,” Turner said. “What our guys have done to me is really just short of miraculous. Philip, LT, Gatesy, Vincent Jackson … they’ve fought through it and they're ready to go.”

    Each individual story has been well documented. Rivers had an inspirational recovery from his offseason knee surgery, so much that he’s been 100 percent for a couple months now. Gates, who underwent a toe operation in late February, took on a full load in practice this week. Jackson started training camp strong, missed time with a hamstring issue and bounced back to finish strong. Williams had both of his knees arthroscopically cleaned out and now he feels ready to go.

    The common thread in each player is that they all have at least three previous years of NFL experience under their belts, which gives Turner confidence in their ability to play Sunday like they’ve proven they can.

    “The guys that in the first game you don’t know how they’re going to play are the guys that have never played before,” Turner said. “I know the guys who have played here and have played at a high level here. I expect them to play at the same level they have. No one is going into this game any different than they went into the games they went into last year. I think they expect to play at a high level.”

    In addition to their track record, Turner’s feelings come from having seen each player dedicatedly preparing themselves for Sunday.

    “I think if I hadn’t been around here for the last two months watching them practice, I’d wonder,” Turner said. “I don’t have any doubts that those guys are geared up and hyped up and going to go play like they’re going to play.”

    Turner doesn’t expect any of his players to “hold back” or play tentatively once they are on the field.

    “While they’re playing, they’re playing,” Turner said. “The only thing we need to do is we have some depth at a couple of the positions and we have to monitor.

    “Obviously we’re going to monitor Gatesy’s reps. We’re going to monitor Merriman’s reps. Monitor, that means where Gates might normally play 70 plays, is he going to play 40 plays? How he feels in the game, where we’re going, all those different things.”

    When asked about injuries, coaches often defer and instead focus on the players that are available. Turner made it a point this week to note that so many of his athletes have no issues as they begin the season.

    “We had an outstanding camp,” Turner said. “We had probably 65, 70 percent of our starters not miss a practice. Of our 53-man roster, probably 35 of the guys didn’t miss a practice in camp. We’re an awfully healthy football team. Obviously we have some exceptions but we knew that in February.”

    Turner praised Hardwick’s effort to get back on the field, citing his improved mobility when working on the side. He simply didn’t have any answers on McNeill’s situation at this point but is optimistic his starting left tackle will be back on the practice field soon.

    As for the others, Turner is confident and ready to turn them loose.

    “This is a physical, aggressive game for great athletes and we have to let those guys use their abilities,” Turner said.
     

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