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Antonio Gates forced to backstroke after talking about injuries

Denver Broncos vs. San Diego

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 23: San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates made a touchdown catch in the fourth quarter against the Denver Brtoncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Thursday, October 23, 2014. (Photo by Steve Nehf/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Denver Post via Getty Images

We know Antonio Gates can play basketball. He was apparently on the swim team too, watching him backstroke away from his remarks about Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers’ injury/non-injury.

After telling the world Sunday that Rivers was playing through a “very severe rib injury,” Gates was forced to come up with another line after Chargers coach Mike McCoy sternly said there was nothing wrong with his quarterback (since, you know, he was never on the injury report, and covering up something like that would obviously be against the rules).

I think some things I had said were taken out of context,” Gates said, via Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego. “I was just talking in terms of playing the game, just the typical soreness you have from playing in this league. I’ve been playing in this league a long time. I understand the process, the battles of what you have to put into a game, taking care of yourself physically.

“I’m no doctor, by [any] stretch. My job is to come out here and try to help us win. As far as Philip goes, anything pertaining to him or concerning him and his physical health, that’s something maybe a doctor or a trainer or maybe himself can answer. Like I said, it was just me talking about his pure toughness, what I’ve known about him as a person.”

Wow, that must have been quite a scolding Gates got from McCoy.

The rest of the team apparently heard it too, as McCoy “briefly addressed the topic” in a team meeting, telling players what to say and not to say to the media about injuries.

Obviously the answers to those two questions are “nothing” and “anything,” as the Chargers don’t want the league breathing down their necks about withholding injury information.

Rivers has played on a torn ACL, so his toughness is well-documented. And watching the shot he took for Khalil Mack last week, he’s clearly bothered by something, even if it doesn’t get logged as an official injury.

But Gates might have to go on the report now, after having his butt chewed by his coach.