LT reveals he has cracked rib

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Jul 6, 2005

By Jay Posner

January 1, 2006

He established two more Chargers records yesterday, but LaDainian Tomlinson hardly was in a mood to celebrate.

And it had nothing to do with a weeks-old injury – a cracked rib – that Tomlinson revealed was worse than he and the team originally believed.

This was more about another playoff-less season ending with another disappointing defeat. It's the fourth time in Tomlinson's five seasons that the Chargers have failed to reach the NFL's second season.

"Yeah, that's pretty obvious," he said after San Diego's 23-7 loss to Denver at rainy Qualcomm Stadium. "That's what you strive to do at the beginning of the season, to continue to play into the postseason, and we weren't good enough."

Not even a return to form by Tomlinson could help yesterday. He broke a mini-slump by rushing for 92 yards, his highest total in the past five games, and a total that would have been much higher if the Chargers had not been forced to pass on almost every play in the fourth quarter.

Tomlinson also scored a touchdown (on a 6-yard run) for the first time in five games; it was his 20th of the season, breaking Chuck Muncie's 24-year-old record for a single season. Moments before that score, he had a 28-yard run – his longest in, yes, five games – to surpass Lance Alworth's all-time club record of 9,721 yards from scrimmage. Tomlinson has 9,755.

"It's obviously an honor to surpass Lance Alworth with everything that he has meant to the Chargers and what a great player he was, along with Chuck Muncie," Tomlinson said. "I'm happy that I'm able to put my name up on top of that board now. Obviously it's a great accomplishment.

"But when you lose and you're not playing for anything and you finish 9-7 and you finish on a bad note, it's just kind of hard to really find any positive in breaking a record."

Tomlinson was pleased to note that for the first time since injuring a rib in the first half of the Chargers' Dec. 4 game against Oakland, he played free of pain. The injury was announced as a bruise, and X-rays did not show anything worse, but Tomlinson said an MRI taken within the last two weeks revealed a crack.

Tomlinson said he never considered skipping a game, but it was clear the effect the injury had. After averaging 98.7 rushing yards a game and scoring 19 touchdowns in his first 11 games, he averaged 71.5 yards and scored zero TDs in his next four.

"As football players it's hard to take us off the field," he said. "You have to be pretty much dying out there to come off the field. That's just the way we are. Obviously there were some games that it really affected me. But today I will say that I did not have one problem from my ribs."

As for the previous 3½ games, however . .

"Every time you get hit, you lose your breath; you can't breathe for a second," he said. "It's a tough injury to play with. I appreciate just fighting through that. It meant a lot for me personally because it's not easy. I've known guys that have sat out a couple games with rib injuries. For me, that just never crossed my mind."

Even with the injury, Tomlinson nearly matched his four-season average of 1,475 rushing yards by gaining 1,462 this season, although his total yards from scrimmage were down from an average of 1,980 to 1,832. Both totals rank third personally and in club history.

Next month he plans to play in the Pro Bowl for the third time.

"With the way I felt today," he said, "I would assume I would (go), unless I trip and fall at home or something."


Aug 17, 2005
We should have started Turner after the Colts game. LT obviously was not himself and was hurting the team more than helping them.


Oct 18, 2005
We all knew that it was mor serious than LT was saying. Michael Turner should have defintely gotten the nod over the last few weeks. He had fresh legs and would have made a difference especially in bad weather conditions.

Marty is an idiot for keeping LT it just to break Muncie's record.