It has been a rough couple of years for Chargers tight end Antonio Gates.
He missed six games in 2010 and three games, along with parts of others, last year because of a foot injury. He’s still been productive — 17 touchdown catches — but his presence in the lineup has been missed for the last two seasons. Gates has been very positive recently about the progress the injury has been making and it seems to be showing at Chargers workouts.
Coach Norv Turner is certainly a believer. Turner raved about Gates’ condition on Thursday and said that he is showing few signs of the injury that slowed him so much.
“Gates looks great — he’s back,” Turner said, via Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Physically, he’s back to where we want him to be. I think, like anybody, going through this offseason program helps you get better. (It’s) the combination of conditioning, the combination of getting better in the areas you can improve, and being out there with your teammates.”
A return to full form for Gates would be huge for the Chargers offense. Losing Vincent Jackson and adding Robert Meachem means that the receiving corps will take some time to work itself out, but a healthy Gates could mitigate any growing pains.