Antonio Gates was wheeling around Wednesday on a scooter that kept his right foot off the ground.
That’s the opposite foot from the toe and ankle injuries that were known to be hobbling him the past two weeks.
In the second half of Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans, a game in which he caught five passes for 123 yards, Gates popped the plantar fascia in his right foot. Plantar fasciitis is the ailment for which Gates sought a medical opinion in May, but it had not bothered him this season until he attempted to compensate for the injuries around his left foot in the Chargers’ Oct. 24 loss to New England.
“My (right) foot was on fire,” Gates said of the aftermath of the Patriots game. “It was so bad, it was like my toe and ankle didn’t bother me anymore.”
The breaking of the plantar fascia actually allows for healing, eliminating the tightness with which Gates had to play against Tennessee. The plantar fascia is a band that runs from the heel to the toes and works with the arch of the foot when the foot pushes off. The tearing is extremely painful.
“It’s the worst feeling in the world,” Gates said. “Sometimes you feel your career is coming to an end.”
Dr. Phillip Kwong, a foot specialist with the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic, said people find it difficult to walk for two weeks or more after tearing a plantar fascia.
“I think it’s going to be really tough to play with any proficiency this Sunday, unless they do a remarkable job anesthetizing him,” Kwong said. “… He has a lot of demands on him at his position,” Kwong said. “This injury will make it difficult for him to push off and be explosive.”
This doesn't paint a good picture of Gates playing this Sunday unless things take a turn for the best. We'll monitor his practices over the week.