LT doutbful, confirms injury
Tomlinson was hurt in a 52-21 rout of the Denver Broncos in the regular-season finale on Dec. 28 that clinched the AFC West title. The team has listed him as having a strained groin.
"If it was a strain I'd be able to play with it, trust me," Tomlinson said. "A lot of guys have strains."
Reports surfaced prior to Saturday's wild-card win against the Indianapolis Colts that Tomlinson has a detached tendon that connects one of his groin muscles to his pubic bone.
Tomlinson started against the Colts but came out after scoring on a 3-yard run early in the second quarter. With Darren Sproles filling in, the Chargers won 23-17 in overtime.
Tomlinson said this injury has been tougher than any he's had during his brilliant eight-year career.
"It feels like something is tearing away from my leg. That's how I know that it's messed up because before, when I've had groin injuries, I haven't felt that," said Tomlinson, the NFL MVP in 2006 who set league records that year with 31 touchdowns and 186 points. "Whenever you feel a popping or like it's tearing, that's usually not good."
A preview of the AFC Divisional Playoff matchup between the Chargers and the Steelers.
NFL teams don't give an injured player's status until Friday. But Tomlinson said his status is doubtful, meaning there's a 75 percent chance he won't play.
"That's pretty much what I feel like I'm at," said Tomlinson, the franchise's most brutally honest employee.
Has he been ruled out of the game?
"No. Not yet," he added.
If the Chargers keep winning , there might be a chance Tomlinson could return.
"I think it's possible," he said. "I'm never going to rule it out. I'll have to start to feel much better, though."
Tomlinson said there's a chance he could make the injury worse if he continued to play "and do some of the things I have to do. Who knows how much? Once again, I don't even know if it's going to require surgery."
Tomlinson had a 13-yard gain on the first play from scrimmage Saturday night but said his leg was dragging.
"That's why I said earlier that that game was just all pure determination of trying to just push it and trying to do as much as I could and go," he said. "But it was clear from the first carry that I couldn't pick my leg up and explode and it did feel like it was dragging."
While happy with the team's success, Tomlinson said it's frustrating dealing with another injury in the playoffs. Last year he sprained his left knee in a divisional game against the Colts and then aggravated it and missed the final 3½ quarters of the AFC Championship Game loss to the New England Patriots.
"I don't think anybody can know the frustration, to be honest with you," he said. "It's tough dealing with it. I really sometimes just want to go home and just stay at home and lock myself up and not even go into public, just because all my life, all I've ever wanted to do is play football and, you know, win a championship. And to feel so helpless, to be at this point where we have a chance to do it and again, I can't do anything about it, I can't play, it's like I'm being punished for something. It's tough to deal with."
Limited early in the season by a toe injury, Tomlinson gained a career-low 1,110 yards this season.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press