After sitting on Wednesday and Thursday, Chargers tight end Antonio Gates was able to practice Friday despite a hamstring injury. But can he play Sunday against the Bengals? Gates left room for doubt when he spoke to the media after the last practice of the week.
"It's tricky," Gates said. "It's different. It's one of those injuries where you can't fully grasp whether or not you can do something because it's all running. Everything is based off running and power and holding off people on blocks, and the hamstring is a big part of that. Without the lower body, you couldn't play in this league. I'll see how it goes. I'm going to attack this rehab. I've got two more days. That's the best part about it."
Gates also said he is "not sure" he could play if he had to on Friday. Good thing he didn't have to.
Gates has played through injuries for most of the past three years, but that doesn't mean he has played well. Foot injuries have really slowed him in recent seasons, and I think he will be limited against the Bengals, especially with tight end Ladarius Green stepping up as a very capable replacement. Green has some sleeper potential even if Gates plays, and I would put him into the TE1 range if Gates is ruled out. Green, a 23-year-old size-speed-weight marvel, has caught seven passes for 161 yards and a touchdown in his last two games.