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Chargers Have Their Health

Barring Gates setback, all but Castillo set for Sunday



    Chargers Have Their Health
    Getty Images
    San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates makes a cut against the Oakland Raiders at Qualcomm Stadium on December 5, 2010 in San Diego, California.

    Hardly anyone was missing Friday morning in the final Chargers practice before the team's afternoon trip to the East Coast.

    Tight end Antonio Gates, after sitting out Thursday, practiced in full for the first time this week and is all but guaranteed to start Sunday against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

    He is expected to see limited snaps and is officially listed as questionable after missing the past three games with a plantar fascia injury.

    "There's some uncertainty with how he'll feel (Saturday)," coach Norv Turner said. "Obviously, if everything goes smooth, then there's a good chance he'll play."

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    Cornerback Marcus Gilchrist return to full action. The rookie injured his knee in a fall during Wednesday's practice and didn't participate Thursday. He is one of the five Chargers listed as probable; Vincent Jackson, Mike Tolbert, Jacques Cesaire and Jacob Hester are the others.

    Only Hester (foot) did not have a complete practice, and all are expected to start Sunday. With only one player missing, it was the most active bodies the Chargers have had in practice since the final training camp cut in early September.

    Ryan Mathews is not on the injury report after playing through a calf injury in Week 5 against the Denver Broncos. Turner projected the running back to carry the ball 16 to 20 times on Sunday with four to five receptions.

    Team buses departed the Mission Valley team facility for the airport Friday at about 1:30 p.m.

    Gates Comeback: Part II
    Turner said Thursday the team will be "smarter" with Gates on Sunday than the first two games of the season when he played 143 of 156 offensive snaps.

    Gates agreed Friday that less may be more.

    "I was dealing with it from the beginning of the year," Gates said, referring to his plantar fascia injury. "I think when you're dealing with something like that, you want to try and pick and choose. Do the things that are necessary to continue to stay healthy ... Unfortunately, I was able to continue to rupture it."

    He is expected to rotate on and off the field but should be a significant part of the team's red zone packages.

    Castillo Confident
    Only defensive end Luis Castillo was absent at Friday's practice but was seen walking around the locker room.

    The seventh-year veteran injured his tibia in the Sept. 11 season opener against the Minnesota Vikings. Despite a lengthy timetable, the team did not put him on injured reserve.

    Without going into specifics, he said he's "feeling good" and remains hopeful to return this season.