Saturday, January 19, 2008

Injury Update: Philip Rivers Has A Partially Torn ACL

Mouthy to a fault, quarterback Philip Rivers made a pronouncement Friday that pleased the San Diego Chargers, despite the coach's sentiments and a report to the contrary:

He's optimistic about playing in the AFC Championship Game.

Rivers returned to the practice field, encouraged his sprained right knee would heal enough for him to go Sunday against the New England Patriots.

However, that was Friday afternoon. Now sources told The San Diego Union-Tribune Rivers had also sustained a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee. Therefore, Chargers coach Norv Turner took a more cautious approach. He listed Rivers as doubtful and said it would be a game-time decision.

Under NFL rules for reporting injuries, someone listed as doubtful has a 25 percent chance of playing that week. Until Friday, teams were required to merely list whether a player practiced -- Rivers did not work out Wednesday or Thursday.

Rivers handled about one-third of the snaps in practice on Friday. He was hurt last weekend in a 28-24 playoff upset of the defending Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts, and backup Billy Volek led the winning touchdown drive.

Already a two-touchdown underdog against the perfect Patriots, the Chargers are awfully banged up. Antonio Gates was put in the doubtful category still with a dislocated toe.

On a positive note, running back LaDainian Tomlinson said he thought his hyperextended left knee would be OK for him to start. If Billy Volek has to start or see major playing time in Sunday's AFC Championship game, than LT is going to have to step up like never before. Remember the LT who set the all-time record for rushing TDs and ran for crazy numbers continuously game after game. Wherever he went this year, he's going to have to return and play just like that against the Patriots if they have any hope of winning.

I'll say this however. The Patriots have not covered the spread in a long time. Other than the games against the Dolphins and Steelers, the rest of the games involving the Patriots have been relatively within reach. Yet, they still continue to be favored by insane amounts of points. I guess that's because the Patriots can go on a tear at anytime and can score almost every time the ball is in Tom Brady's hands.

As for Bill Belichick and the Patriots. Same story. Patriots coach Bill Belichick said San Diego's injury problems were of little concern to him.

"We get ready for all 53 players every week," he said. "We don't have any control over that."

A classic Belichick response. Tom Brady, whose best games often come in the biggest settings, was typically more composed, joking about a future in Hollywood. In fact, everything is a joke to him.

For all his experience in pressurized settings, the Patriots quarterback suggested he had more trouble nowadays when it came to keeping his adrenaline in check. Brady was reminded that six years ago, right before playing in his first Super Bowl, he took a nap on the locker room floor. Brady wound up as the game's MVP in a win over the St. Louis Rams.

"I think I was naive back in the day," Brady said. "I thought it was easy."

Who are you trying to fool, Brady? Of course its easy when you have a line who protects you for so long you could steal Jessica Simpson from Tony Romo, have your way with her, and still be back in time to throw the ball to the best receiving core in football.

I guess when you have the type of season he had (make that the type of career he had) you can laugh and have a good time in the NFL.

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