The Chargers have just announced that Antonio Cromartie, Marcus McNeill, and LaDainian Tomlinson did not practice today. If Cromartie is out we may be looking at another monster night from Royal who would be matched up against a rookie cornerback, and if the Chargers respond by giving the rookie safety help that would leave Marshall alone against Jammer.
The biggest question though has to be, "What if LT does not play?" This turn of events would free up Denver's safeties to support the LB covering Gates or to help over the top against Chambers and Jackson.
Here is B. Williamson's take on the news.
Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson
The Chargers injury situation for Sunday's game didn't improve Thursday.
Cornerback Antonio Cromartie (hip), left tackle Marcus McNeill (neck) and running back LaDainian Tomlinson (toe) all did not practice for the second straight day today.
While it is still three days until San Diego plays at Denver on Sunday, it is not a good sign that the three standouts did not practice. Usually in the NFL, when players miss an entire week of practice they do not play on the weekend. Tomlinson, however, said Wednesday he would for sure play against Denver.
Left tackle Marcus McNeill didn't play against Carolina on Sunday and he was replaced by L. J. Shelton will likely play for McNeill again, if he can't go against Denver.
There are indications Cromartie may not play against Denver. He finished the game against Carolina, but he has not healed very well this week. That could open the door for first-round pick Antoine Cason to start a cornerback in place of the Pro Bowler Cromartie.
If Cason plays, he'd likely face Denver rookie Eddie Royal, who burnt Oakland quarterback DeAngelo Hall routinely Monday night. If that is the case, Quentin Jammer will likely be on Denver star Brandon Marshall, who will be making his 2008 debut after serving a one-game NFL suspension last week.
Meanwhile, for San Diego, tight end Antonio Gates practiced on a limited basis again today. He is dealing with a hip problem and his nagging left toe injury. Also, center Nick Hardwick practiced on a limited basis for the second day in a row. He's not expected to play for another couple weeks as he heals from a foot injury.
Denver did not report any injury status changes today.