SAN DIEGO — Linebacker Junior Seau, arguably the Chargers' premier performer, tossed his helmet in disgust Wednesday after re-injuring rib cartilage in practice.
Seau returned to practice but pulled himself out later because of the injury.
"I was disturbed and angry because of the discomfort, but I have to play through it," Seau said. "I hurt it last week, and I thought it was one of those things that would improve in time. You get a little frustrated when it doesn't act the way you want it to."
Seau, who is tied with Gary Plummer for the team lead in tackles with 13, said he injured the rib cartilage last week in practice, and while concerned with Denver's thin air and the breathing problems it presented, he played without problem Sunday.
In Wednesday's one-on-one work with the offensive line, however, Seau grabbed his side in pain. Although the injury bothered him in practice, he said it will not keep him from playing Sunday against the Steelers in San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium.
"I never play this game 100% healthy," Seau said. "You just have to put it behind you and hope it doesn't bother you. I'm not going to let it bother me."
General Manager Bobby Beathard said the Chargers do not have an interest in signing wide receiver Stephone Paige, who was released by the Chiefs. Paige remains unsigned and is asking for more than $1 million; he also is coming off a serious knee injury.
Defensive end Leslie O'Neal has come to the financial aid of Brenda Zbilski, a Bates Street resident in San Diego who is fighting to gain custody of her 4-year-old son, Scott.
O'Neal has given Zbilski $1,000 to fly to Philadelphia and face her sister in court today. Bonnie Dancer, Zbilski's sister, has had Scott for the past two years and has staked a claim to Zbilski's son.
Zbilski was in danger of losing the custody battle for failure to appear in Philadelphia because of insufficient funds. Dick Lewis, the team's security consultant who also works for the benefit of the Bates Street Resource Center, had mentioned Zbilski's plight to O'Neal, and O'Neal immediately pledged his help.
"He said, 'Tell me, let me help,' " Lewis said. "He's already told her that if she needs more money to fly her son home to call him. Hopefully, this will get her kid back."
Defensive end Burt Grossman did not practice Wednesday to provide additional rest time for his sprained ankle. The team listed him as "probable" for Sunday's game with Pittsburgh, along with cornerback Gill Byrd (neck), safety Darren Carrington (thigh), safety Floyd Fields (thigh) and linebacker Eugene Marve (knee).
The Steelers, who already are playing without wide receiver Louis Lipps (unsigned), free safety Thomas Everett (unsigned) and tight end Eric Green (injured reserve), will now play the Chargers without starting tackle Tunch Ilkin (elbow).
Beathard said that contrary to published reports, "nothing has changed" in regards to unsigned nose tackle Joe Phillips. The team has withdrawn its contract offer to Phillips.
The Chargers worked wide receiver Nate Lewis along with Eric Bieniemy in returning punts and kickoffs.
Bieniemy has had trouble holding onto the ball during punt returns, and Coach Bobby Ross said the team is reviewing personnel at that position. Lewis returned five punts with an 11.8-yard average return last season. Lewis' 25.1-yard average on kickoff returns led the AFC last season.