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QB Rivers could see less time with O-line ailing

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SAN DIEGO (AP)

The Chargers practiced Wednesday without three of their offensive line starters, raising questions about how much quarterback Philip Rivers will play in San Diego's next preseason game at Minnesota.

Coach Norv Turner said Rivers doesn't necessarily need more preseason action to be ready for the season opener Sept. 10 at Oakland.

''Philip would be ready to play if we didn't play him again in the preseason,'' Turner said. ''He's played an awful lot of football. We're going to do everything we can to get this team ready to play, and that's what our plan is throughout the preseason.''

Center Nick Harwick and left tackle Jared Gaither will not play Friday against the Vikings.

Hardwick, a nine-year veteran who calls out signals to the other blockers, suffered a concussion in practice Tuesday and will not go to Minnesota, Turner said.

Gaither hasn't practiced this month because of a back ailment.

Turner said he'd like to see left guard Tyronne Green play against the Vikings after he missed the last two practices with a sore foot.

The starter at left tackle is likely to be Michael Harris, an undrafted rookie who started the first two of the Chargers' preseason games.

Some snaps at center will go to rookie David Molk, a seventh-round selection who snapped to No. 2 quarterback Charlie Whitehurst last Saturday in a 28-20 win over the Dallas Cowboys.

A backup to both Green and Hardwick is Rex Hadnot, a nine-year veteran who started all 16 games at right guard for Arizona last year and was Miami's only center to start in 2006.

''I've got a lot of confidence in the guys that will line up in the offensive line,'' Turner said.

Rivers started both preseason games and played a total of three quarters, completing 16 of 20 passes for 146 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions.

Against the Cowboys on Saturday, Rivers was sacked on the offense's second snap by a backup linebacker, Victor Butler, who rushed past Harris.

Rivers has yet to play in a game with receiver Eddie Royal but threw to him Wednesday in Royal's first practice since July. A groin injury and a personal matter had slowed Royal, a projected starter who is new to the team after spending the last four years with Denver.

''He's Eddie Royal,'' Turner said. ''He's fast, he's quick and when he's healthy, he changes direction as quickly as anybody I've been around.''

Wide receiver Robert Meachem had the day off.

Turner said that Hardwick was ''feeling better'' on Wednesday one day after he was ''dinged'' against the Cowboys.

''Hopefully the symptoms clear and he's cleared soon,'' Turner said.

Tagged: Cowboys, Philip Rivers, Eddie Royal, Chargers

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