San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates said Sunday that quarterback Philip Rivers is dealing with a "very severe rib injury," an injury Rivers later downplayed.
"He's showed a lot in the past, his mental toughness, his will to win and overcome anything he's dealing with from a physical standpoint," Gates told reporters after the Chargers' 13-6 win over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
"Not for once did I think he was going to go out of the game. I watched the guy play with a torn ACL. He takes some shots. He's taken some shots all year. For those who don't know, he's been dealing with a rib injury, a very severe rib injury, so he's been toughing it out these last three or four weeks."
But Rivers softened Gates' comments, later telling reporters his injury situation isn't any different than the bumps and bruises that every quarterback sustains during the course of an NFL season.
"I'm no more banged up than other quarterback in the league," Rivers said, according to the Union-Tribune. "All good."
Rivers was sacked twice in the Chargers' win on Sunday, and he took a number of significant hits, grabbing his midsection in the aftermath of one in the second half. But he never came out of the game, helping the Chargers improve to 6-4 and within one game of the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West.
- Brett LoGiurato