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San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) talks with an assistant coach while sitting on a training table, receiving treatment for an injured right foot.
AP photo by Denis Poroy
San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) talks with an assistant coach while sitting on a training table, receiving treatment for an injured right foot.

Chargers’ Rivers hurt but not seriously
Athens grad leaves victory as precaution

By Bernie Wilson
Associated Press Writer

SAN DIEGO — If it had been, say, the Super Bowl, Philip Rivers would have played on.

The Athens High graduate remained on the sideline, though, as the San Diego Chargers finished their most remarkable regular season with a 27-20 win Sunday over the Arizona Cardinals.

Rivers sprained his right foot, which didn’t keep him from throwing two touchdown passes.

“Whatever it may be, you don’t want to make it worse,” Rivers said. “I think that was more the case than anything. Had this game been for all the marbles, I’d probably still been going.”

LaDainian Tomlinson, the record-setting running back, got hurt as well. He already had wrapped up his first NFL rushing title when someone stepped on one of his legs.

The Chargers (14-2) clinched home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. They already had earned a first-round bye, which will give Rivers and Tomlinson time to rest.

“We accomplished a lot today,” Rivers said.

“Most importantly, everything’s going to come through San Diego. It was a good day for the Chargers.”

San Diego heads into the playoffs with a 10-game winning streak and its first perfect home record since 1963.

Rivers was hurt when he was sacked by Chike Okeafor late in the first quarter. He missed the first play of the next drive while being treated on the sideline, then returned and went 5-for-6 for 82 yards, including a 33-yard TD pass to tight end Antonio Gates that gave the Chargers a 10-7 lead.

He threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Vincent Jackson late in the first half, and continued to play even after the Chargers built a 17-point third-quarter lead. He clearly was bothered by the injury, pulling up and limping each time he threw a pass.

“To me, it’s not the biggest news of the day,” Rivers said. “To me, it’ll be a non-issue come two weeks from now.”

Rivers came out after some high-level huddling on the sideline that included Schottenheimer, trainer James Collins, Dr. David Chao, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, backup Billy Volek and third-stringer Charlie Whitehurst.

Volek trotted out for a possession that started with 1:26 left in the third quarter.

Rivers finished 19-of-24 for 231 yards with an interception.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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