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All's Not Well With Chargers; Fouts Has Pulled Muscle

November 17, 1987|CHRIS ELLO

SAN DIEGO — Just when it seemed as if everything was going great for the 8-1 Chargers, word has come down that quarterback Dan Fouts is hurt.

Not bad, but Fouts is hurting nonetheless.

Word came after the Chargers had beaten the Raiders, 16-14, Sunday night that Fouts had suffered a pulled muscle in his right calf during warmups. Fouts was limping during the game, although he completed 15 of 32 passes for 149 yards and one touchdown. In his previous five starts this season, Fouts had averaged 249 yards passing per game.

Coach Al Saunders said he'd know more about Fouts' availability as this week progresses, but said Monday that Fouts is questionable for Sunday's game in Seattle against the Seahawks.

"I pulled a calf muscle in the pregame warmups," said Fouts during a Monday night television talk show. "It was a little sore and it's even sorer today. We're going to have to take it day by day and hopefully it will improve."

Fouts was in the Chargers' training room for treatment Monday morning but left before reporters could talk with him.

"It was touch and go whether or not he'd be able to play (Sunday night)," Saunders said. "When he came off the field, he felt like he wouldn't be able to go."

Saunders talked with backup quarterback Mark Herrmann before the game and told him he wasn't sure if Fouts would be able to play.

Herrmann told Saunders he would be ready.

"As the captains were getting ready to go out for the coin toss, out of the tunnel came Dan," Saunders said. "I think it's a testament to the courage he has. A lot of guys wouldn't have taken the field."

Fouts said that he had twisted his right knee and hurt his right calf in practice last week. Before Sunday night's game he aggravated the calf.

Saunders said that despite the injury, the Chargers' game plan was not altered against the Raiders.

"Roger (Theder, the Chargers' quarterback coach who calls most of the offensive plays) called a normal game," Saunders said. "Dan wasn't as accurate as he'd like, but he still came up with some big plays for us."

Saunders said it is unlikely that Fouts will be able to practice Wednesday.

Fouts, 36, has started all six games the Chargers' regulars have played this season although in each of the last four seasons, he has missed at least three starts.

"I think it would be very presumptuous to say that Dan won't be able to play (Sunday)," Saunders said. "Knowing him, he'll certainly want to play."

Chargers Notes

Coach Al Saunders said he would talk with members of the Chargers' defensive line this week to discuss the fact that the linemen had decided among themselves to impose a $50 fine if any of them didn't retaliate for any possible Raider cheap shots during Sunday's game. Saunders said the first he heard about the fines was when he read Monday's newspapers. "There's no place for that and I'm vehemently against it," Saunders said. "I haven't talked to any of them yet but I think it was just a good-natured thing to help the camaraderie among themselves. I certainly don't approve of anything like that." Defensive coordinator Ron Lynn said he was surprised when he was watching a tape of the game late Sunday night and heard ESPN television commentator John Matuszak say that the Charger players would be fined $50 for not retaliating. "I would imagine that the subject will come up in meetings this week," he said . . . Other Chargers besides Dan Fouts suffered slight injuries during Sunday's game. Saunders said, however, that the injuries suffered by Wes Chandler (foot), Lionel James (sprained ankle), Jim Lachey (twisted knee), and Gary Kowalski (ankle) were all minor. "We'll have an official injury report (today)," Saunders said.

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