Ryan Mathews #24 of the San Diego Chargers runs with the ball as Andy Studebaker #96 of the Kansas City Chiefs tries to tackle him during their game at Arrowhead Stadium on October 31, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri.
On a short week, the San Diego Chargers are short on bodies.
The team was especially thin at skill positions Wednesday when it hit the practice field two days after its physical overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.
In all, nine players did not practice.
Running backs Ryan Mathews (groin) and Curtis Brinkley (concussion) were both missing. The silver lining was the return of Mike Tolbert, who did not practice last week and sat out Monday night with a hamstring injury. He practiced in full.
Barring a setback, Tolbert will play Sunday and, with Mathews and Brinkley's statuses in flux, could see significant touches when the Chargers host the undefeated Green Bay Packers.
Wide receivers Vincent Jackson (hamstring) and Malcom Floyd (hip) did not participate Wednesday, leaving Patrick Crayton, Vincent Brown, Richard Goodman and practice squad member Bryan Walters as the team's only able bodies at the position.
Outside linebacker Shaun Phillips (foot), guard Kris Dieman (concussion), linebacker Na'il Diggs (knee), guard Tyronne Green (hand) and defensive end Luis Castillo (tibia) also sat out practice.
Dielman and Brinkley were both in the locker room afterward, but since neither have been cleared after sustaining concussions, they were unavailable for interview, per league policy, a team spokesman said.
Two days after a game is usually a Tuesday off-day for players, making Wednesday's session a tough turnaround.
Still, tight end Antonio Gates practiced, an encouraging sign after he saw more action Monday than the Chargers planned.
Gates was on the field for 75 of 81 snaps, the most since seeing 79 plays in the season opener. Fighting through a lingering plantar fascia injury, the Pro Bowler missed three games beginning in Week 3, and before his return, coach Norv Turner said the Chargers would be "smarter" when managing his workload than they were at the season's start.
"I think the way the game went dictated that," Turner said of Gates' workload. "We try to keep that down. He had some snaps where he was spread out. Obviously, we tried to move him around a little bit to see what looks we would get."