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Injury bug getting best of Bolts' receivers

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Posted Dec. 10, 2010 @ 9:44 a.m. ET
By Michael Blunda

For a quarterback to have an MVP-caliber season, he usually needs his receivers to stay healthy and be extremely productive. But while Philip Rivers has put himself in the mix for that award with his performance thus far, it hasn't been because of his receiving corps, which has been very shaky throughout 2010.

Entering the year with a group of targets that looked like it had enormous potential, the Chargers often have had to rely on backups because, for a variety of reasons, the starters have not been on the field.

In the case of Vincent Jackson, it was first a holdout, then a team-imposed suspension and now an injury that have limited him to just a few snaps all season. Making his debut in Week 12, the '09 Pro Bowler hurt his calf on the first series and hasn't played since. With Jackson playing for minimal money this year as he seeks a new contract, some have questioned the legitimacy of his injury, but we're told that he is indeed hurt and is trying hard to get back on the field. After all, he wants to finish the season with a bang in order to boost his stock on the open market in 2011.

While Jackson almost certainly won't be back in San Diego next year, that's probably not the case with WR Malcom Floyd, who has missed three games this season due to injury. From what we hear, Floyd is currently playing with part of his hamstring torn from the bone, gutting it out because the club is so banged up at wideout. Since he can't make it through an entire game, the team has been picking and choosing certain situations in which to use him lately, much as it has done with hobbled TE Antonio Gates. The fact that Floyd has earned the trust of Rivers and has impressed when healthy means that the upcoming free agent is likely to remain with the Bolts beyond this year.

As for Legedu Naanee, whom San Diego was counting on to step up when Jackson was out, we hear the team has been disappointed with his inability to stay healthy. Considering how little he has done in the seven games in which he has played, though, it appears his ceiling in the NFL is as a slot receiver, as he has failed to make his presence felt on the outside.

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