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Teammates will miss Dielman’s presence
SAN DIEGO – Kris Dielman will not line up at left guard for the rest of this season.
That was made clear when the team placed him on Reserve-Injured on Wednesday, and now the Chargers are left to move forward without a guy that’s made the Pro Bowl every season since ’07.
“The hardest thing, that group has had such great continuity,” Head Coach Norv Turner said. “You look at a guy like Kris Dielman and he’s kind of been not only the heart and soul of that group but this football team for a long time. He brings so much more than just his physical presence on the field.
“He’s been quite a player here and we’ll miss him over the next period. I’m anxious for him to get completely healthy and be able to play in the future.”
Many of Dielman’s teammates acknowledged his absence creates a big void, and not just for his play.
“Personally, I clicked with Diel right when I got here,” Ryan Mathews said. “It’s sad seeing him put on IR like that because he cares so much about the game. He just works so hard. It sucks to see him go.
“Other guys are going to pick it up. He’s going to be right there helping his team along still.”
Turner was not optimistic about Marcus McNeill’s availability Sunday either, and the team is preparing Brandyn Dombrowski as if he’ll play at left tackle against the Bears.
Another big question along the line is at right guard. Louis Vasquez (ankle) and Tyronne Green (hand) both missed Wednesday’s practice. If they can’t play, San Diego will go with Scott Mruczkowski and someone from the group of untested rookie Stephen Schilling and new acquisitions Tony Moll and Ikechuku Ndukwe.
Close to 100-percent healthy after the extended break between games, Turner expects Ryan Mathews, Mike Tolbert and Jacob Hester also will have an important share of pass protection responsibilities as Julius Peppers (six sacks) and an active Chicago front try to get after Philip Rivers.
If all else fails, Rivers has proven himself reliable under pressure. A late-game interception against Oakland under unusual circumstances aside, Turner said the quarterback made “great progress.”
“(Rivers) handled things extremely well under as much pressure as I think he has ever been or we’ve ever been under since I’ve been here,” Turner said.
“This front we’re playing is outstanding. They give you multiple problems. We have to be very careful with how much we ask our guys to do, but you have to give them a chance to go make plays.”
STILL UNIFIED: Turner called the team “anxious” to return to the practice field Wednesday and described the session as high-energy.
The Chargers see a seven-game season ahead of them that starts in Chicago this week and on Wednesday seemed far from a team that’s going to fall apart after a tough losing streak.
“(There’s) no team dissension. We always stick together,” Quentin Jammer said. “Over the years, I think that’s why we’ve always been so resilient and come back and won games because there’s no dissension among these teammates.
“We always rally together. Sometimes it takes us a while but we figure out what we need to do to win.”
EXPLANATION: Vincent Jackson addressed the fourth-quarter interception against the Raiders on Wednesday, confirming what Rivers and Turner already said.
Jackson was bracketed by two defenders on the play and did not appear to see the ball enter the end zone. Oakland’s Matt Giordano picked off the potential game-tying throw.
“As a receiver you go out there expecting the ball coming your way every play. I was looking for it,” Jackson said. “I still feel like I can track the ball pretty well at night. But I never saw it go up.
“When the defender came down with the ball, (I felt) a little confusion there, but again, I just never saw it.”