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Garay is Chargers' Appendectomy Survivor

Nose tackle relates to Chiefs QB Cassel

By Michael Gehlken
|  Thursday, Dec 9, 2010  |  Updated 2:29 PM PDT
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Images: Philip Rivers

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Antonio Garay #71 of the San Diego Chargers looks on from the sidelines against the Oakland Raiders during their NFL game at Qualcomm Stadium on December 5, 2010 in San Diego, California.

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Chargers nose tackle Antonio Garay lifted his shirt and revealed a thin scar track that runs along the lower right side of his stomach.

In the summer before the fourth grade, Garay's appendix inflamed and swelled to only half an inch away from his heart, and his recovery from the emergency appendectomy forced him away from playing sports with friends.

Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel could soon relate.

On Wednesday, Cassel underwent an appendectomy, casting a cloud over his availability for Sunday's game against the Chargers. The timing is hardly convenient with the Chiefs looking to clinch their first division title in seven years, but compared to Garay, Cassel is the lucky one.

Garay, 31, remembers the doctor asking him to jump in the air in her office. He couldn't and was rushed into surgery soon afterward.

“It's different now,” Garay said. “When they did mine, they just went in, cut it out and asked no questions. Nowadays, they've got a laser. I've got a big, ol' scar going. They don't do that anymore. Now it's just three little dots.”

Cassel's appendectomy was reportedly minimally invasive. He did not practice on Thursday and could very well miss Sunday's critical game. If Cassel, who has thrown 11 touchdowns and no interceptions the past four games, cannot play, Brodie Croyle would be his replacement.

Either way, the Chargers are preparing for Cassel. Describing him as a “tough guy,” Garay said he expects to face him on Sunday.

“Three little laser things,” Garay said. “He's good to go.”

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