It has been more than a month since Chargers left tackle Jared Gaither came down with back spasms and he hasn’t touched a practice field.
Information about Gaither’s status has been scarce beyond the fact that he can’t play football, a string that will extend through Thursday’s preseason finale against the 49ers. Gaither was ruled out of that contest on Tuesday while he was heading for a second MRI that the team hopes will give them some kind of idea about when the man they signed to a four-year, $26 million deal might be ready to get back on the field.
Week One is rapidly approaching and Scott Bair of the North County Times reports that concern about Gaither playing in that game is starting to rise. Coach Norv Turner wouldn’t cop to a big difference on that front, but it doesn’t take much to see it looming over the team.
“We’re trying to get him back on the practice field. When he does that, we’ll have a much better idea about what’s realistic and what isn’t,” Turner said. If he doesn’t practice, it’s going to be hard to play in the opener.”
This isn’t where you want to be with the start of the regular season around the corner, especially since the Chargers’ contingency plan — undrafted rookie Mike Harris — has had a predictably difficult time making the leap to the NFL. The Chargers could move left guard Tyronne Green outside, but they didn’t re-sign Gaither so that they could scramble to do the same kind of patchwork job that they were forced to do last year until Gaither arrived to solidify the line.