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Chargers Notebook : McGee Joins the List of Injured Running Backs

November 05, 1986|CHRIS COBBS | Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO — The Chargers are nearly as desperate for running backs as quarterbacks.

Lionel James is already on injured reserve, and he had company Tuesday after Buford McGee underwent surgery on both knees.

McGee, who will be out four to six weeks, had torn cartilage removed from one knee and a "loose body" removed from the other, according to trainer Mark Howard.

The Chargers planned to activate second-year back Curtis Adams to replace McGee.

Gary Anderson is the only Charger runner who isn't bothered by an injury, but the team got a bit of good news on Tim Spencer, who has foot and ankle injuries. Coach Al Saunders said Spencer was improved Tuesday, but his availability for Sunday's game at Denver is still questionable.

Quarterbacks Dan Fouts and Mark Herrmann also are questionable, meaning Tom Flick likely will start his second straight game.

Herrmann said he was feeling generally weak and was taking aspirin to relieve headaches associated with a concussion he suffered at Philadelphia two games ago.

"I thought I was coming out of it, but I don't want to hurry it along," Herrmann said. "The head is pretty important and I don't want to mess with it."

Herrmann said this was the third or fourth concussion of his football career. In a college game, he was knocked out for 20 minutes and woke up in the locker room. He said the headaches that ensued went away more quickly than they have in this case.

"I'm not going to be gun-shy when I come back," Herrmann said. "I just want to rest and get nice and clean up there."

Rookie offensive lineman Jeff Walker is the hit of special teams this season.

He blocked his second field goal in Sunday's game against Kansas City. He blocked a field goal in a loss to the Washington Redskins earlier this season.

Walker is one of the down linemen on what has been designated the "hammer" team, which attempts to block field goals and extra points.

"It's like a goal-line defense technique," he said. "You try to get low and get movement into the backfield. It's a power rush. I focus on the holder and then try to get my hands up."

Walker is joined on the power rush by Terry Unrein, Ken Dallafior, Dee Hardison and Chuck Ehin. The Chargers vary the rush between four and five men.

Walker is disappointed he hasn't played more as an offensive lineman, but he seems content to wait his turn.

"We have some real solid linemen, and they've all earned their spots," he said. "My confidence is building, and I know my time is going to come."

The Chargers' game plan against Kansas City last week was based on ball control, field position and aggressive defense. It will be different this week at Denver, according to Saunders.

"It would be difficult for us to run exclusively against Denver," Saunders said. "We know they are not a team that is going to make turnovers and give up field position. We'll have to be more balanced and more diversified. But we still won't be the same team we have been in the past."

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