Antonio Gates admitted that his right foot isn't 100 percent. The torn plantar fascia that rendered him virtually useless after an Oct. 31 game against Tennessee is significantly improved, but it isn't healed in the strictest sense.
Gates, however, believes that he'll be able to play and produce up to his lofty standards this season.
While he didn't practice Thursday afternoon, there's no need for panic. Chargers coach Norv Turner said the staff
plans to ease Gates into training camp once the veterans start showing up.
Gates spoke like a man wary of a relapse. Because the lockout prevented him from working with the Chargers' training staff, he didn't feel comfortable pushing his sore foot.
"This whole thing about the CBA put a damper on a lot of things," Gates said. "People say, 'Oh, he had the time off (his foot),' but when you're not in with the training staff that normally understands you and knows what it takes to rehab it right, it's difficult. So I had to deal with guys that really didn't know me, didn't know what I was about, had to go and do their research ---- so it was difficult. You take the bitter with the sweet. You understand what's at stake with the league, but you've still got to do the things that keep you as healthy as possible."
In doing so, Gates hopes to limit the excruciating pain he endured last year.
"People think it's an injury, but it's a pain tolerance," said Gates, who got married on July 9. "One day you might feel like you can run around and jump around. Next day, it's sore. I think the main thing is to continue with the treatment and training staff. They will continue to do the things that are necessary for me to prepare, but yet get me the proper rest that I need."
This is something to keep an eye on, but Gates should be fine provided he starts practicing as Turner suggested. He is the team's best playmaker on offense, and the Chargers know not to push him too hard.