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Nothing like full contact workouts:

Tomlinson suffers mild sprain, day to day

By David Neville, Chargers.com

08.02.02 - The Chargers got a brief scare Friday morning when running back LaDainian Tomlinson sprained his left ankle during the 9-on-7 portion of practice.

Tomlinson, who last year set three team rookie rushing records and broke Lance Alworth’s 36-year-old franchise record for combined yards from scrimmage, was taken off the field on a cart by the team’s training staff.

The Chargers got good news later in the day after further examination revealed that Tomlinson suffered only a mild sprain. He has been listed by the team as "day-to-day" and could return to practice as early as next week.

“It feels better than I thought it would feel right now,” said Tomlinson in the locker room after practice. “I was just going right on a play, I put my head down trying to stick it up in there and someone fell from the inside onto my ankle.”

Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer urged caution and warned against speculation on the seriousness of the injury immediately after practice.

“It’s football. People get banged up and we just hope that it’s not serious," said Schottenheimer. “He was uncomfortable, certainly, but when (trainer) James (Collins) got him inside, he was feeling a lot better.”

“Hopefully it’s not serious at all,” said Terrell Fletcher, who will take the bulk of the load at running back in Tomlinson’s absence along with Vaughn Sanders and rookies Lew Thomas and Jessie Chatman.

Like the rest of his teammates, Fletcher was concerned when he saw Tomlinson go down.

“One, you look at your friend go down, which is the first thing. He’s my roommate, so I didn’t want to see that,” said Fletcher. “Then, you look at the future of our team and see one of the integral parts of our team go down. However long he's out, the rest of the backs are going to step up and get it done. We’ll hold it down until he gets back.”

“Obviously, the first thought you have is for the player," said Schottenheimer. "Beyond that, if indeed somebody is going to be out for a period of time, then somebody else has to step up. A year ago, the New England Patriots lose their starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe. They thought their season was over. Then a young man comes in who has played two years (Tom Brady) and takes them to the world championship. Somebody has to step up.

“We have Fletch working there, and Vaughn Sanders has had an outstanding camp. Lew Thomas is in there working. We still have Chatman. We’ll give some people an opportunity to see what they can do."

Fletcher has experience with injuries similar to Tomlinson's.

“It happens all the time,” said Fletcher. “I actually went down just three days ago in practice and it looked horrible on film. It looked like I should have torn my knee up and everything. But I came out with a slight sprain. Sometimes bad things happen, and other times good things.”

As far as the Chargers are concerned, this time it was the latter.

News and Notes

In other injury news, the Chargers learned that cornerback Tay Cody has a fractured big toe on his left foot and will be out an undetermined amount of time, probably a couple of weeks.

After missing Thursday’s practice with neck spasms, defensive tackle Jason Fisk returned to work Friday morning. Linebacker Junior Seau also returned to practice after sitting out part of Thursday’s workout with a sore hamstring.

The following players did not work Friday: Cody, linebacker Orlando Ruff (back), defensive tackle Dequincy Scott (ankle), safeties Robert Carswell (knee) and Jason Hebert (shoulder), wide receiver Terry Charles (knee), cornerback Tony Okanlawon (knee), tight ends Justin Peelle (ankle) and Josh Whitman (calf) and defensive tackle Doug Sims (ankle).

Cornerback Ryan McNeil (knees) and defensive tackle Jamal Williams (foot) both rested during the afternoon practice.

The Chargers are inviting fans to Saturday’s FanFest presented by Anheuser-Busch at UCSD from 2:00-5:00 p.m., featuring an autograph session for kids 14 and under from 2:15 to 2:45 p.m. followed by a full practice. The Charger Girls will be on hand for autographs and photo opportunities, and there will be interactive games for kids. Chargers single-game tickets and all the latest official Chargers merchandise will be on sale. As always, parking and admission to FanFest presented by Anheuser-Busch are free. Call (858) 455-1984 for more information.

The Chargers have one practice on Friday afternoon from 2:15 to 4:30 p.m. They re-take the field Saturday morning from 8:15-10:15 a.m. and then again for FanFest in the afternoon from 2-5:00 p.m

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I can see Marty taking the team to 8-8 after an 0-5 start, almost identical to us last year. The only difference is that Marty will stay for a second year, and we'll get to see if he can take them to the next plateau or if he fields another lousy to mediocre squad.

In his first years with the Browns and Chiefs, he went 7-9 and 8-8, respectively, and then went something like 12-4 and 13-3 in the ensuing years.

It'll be interesting to see if he follows suit in San Diego.

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