The Chargers finally get their chance to prove they belong amongst the NFL's elite. Get the…
The Chargers got back to work Thursday, but they did so without Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates.
"You know, Antonio's been continuing to get treatment," coach Norv Turner said. "I believe he's improving. We'll see where he is tomorrow, but probably it would be a Sunday morning decision based on how he feels. I'm still optimistic because he's optimistic."
Gates sat out his second straight day with a dislocated big toe and it appears increasingly doubtful he will play Sunday when the Chargers face the Colts in the AFC divisional playoff game.
It's a big blow for the Chargers' offense which leans on the diversity Gates gives it with his matchup problems.
"He's such weapon and can do so many things that he draws attention away from other people," Turner said. "Some of the looks we get on the outside, single coverage and those type things might be a little different."
If Gates sits, Brandon Manumaleuna will replace him. Manumaleuna has started seven games during the regular season when the team opened in two-tight end sets.
But at those times, he was used as the blocking tight end. Come Sunday, he will be asked to catch passes, too.
"It's a nice opportunity but I approach every game like I'm going to start because you never know," said Manumaleuna, who had 10 receptions for 86 yards and a score during the regular season. "So this is just like a regular game."
But really, it's far from it.
"Brandon's going to be asked to do a lot," quarterback Philip Rivers said. "I think too, and I mentioned this the other day, Brandon is a starting tight end in this league, with his ability and his experience. It just so happens he and Gates are here together, which we reap the benefits of that."
INSIDE COLTS CAMP
Is Tony Dungy's six-year reign as the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts coming to end at the end of the current season? Perhaps so.
After a recent story detailing the enrollment of Eric Dungy at Plant High School in suburban Tampa, the chances of that scenario coming to pass sooner rather than later appears to be more of a real possibility.
The younger Dungy, who will turn 16 on Saturday, has played high school football the last two seasons in Indianapolis. According to the story, Eric Dungy -- who is a sophomore -- began attending classes at his new school on Tuesday.
It had initially been reported in mid-October that the Dungy family had visited and toured the school during the Colts' bye week. At the time, though, Tony Dungy dismissed the story and said that he often visits a number of schools whenever he is in the area.
Tony Dungy, however, continues to downplay questions regarding his future with the team and refused to discuss his son's apparent move back to Florida. As he has done in the past, Dungy says that he will wait until after the season is completed before making any decisions one way or another.
"I'm not going to say anything because it's not really worthy of comment," he said in response to questions about Thursday's report. "I've heard and read a lot and some of it is true, some of it is partially true and some of it isn't true at all. I wouldn't read anything into any of the things you hear and read."
As he has done the past couple of years, such as after last year's Super Bowl win, Dungy said that he will talk with his wife Lauren when the season is over and decide what they want to do as a family. He will also talk to Colts team president Bill Polian and team owner Jim Irsay to get their input.
"I'll sit down with my wife and talk it through and then talk to Jim and Bill, like I do every year," Dungy said. "And then we'll take a look at it."
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