NFL

Chargers C Hardwick misses 2nd straight practice

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SAN DIEGO (AP)

The new-look Chargers offensive line was missing a familiar face for the second straight day Tuesday - center Nick Hardwick.

Is Hardwick the latest to be sidelined by the injuries that have marked rookie coach Mike McCoy's first camp?

''I'm good,'' Hardwick said.

But when asked if he was healthy, Hardwick said: ''You've got to talk to the coach.''

Will Hardwick play Saturday in the team's third exhibition game at Arizona?

''Talk to the coach,'' he said.

The Chargers can ill afford to lose Hardwick as they work to assemble the group that will protect quarterback Philip Rivers, who was sacked 49 times last year.

They have an unsettled picture at left tackle with King Dunlap and Max Starks locked into a spirited competition.

At left guard is Chad Rinehart, who was in Buffalo last year.

At right guard is Jeromey Clary, who was at right tackle for the Chargers last year.

At right tackle is D.J. Fluker who was at Alabama last year.

McCoy has said having the group that will protect Rivers settle quickly is a key in the run-up to the season opener on Sept. 9 against the Houston Texans.

But McCoy is being secretive on how close he is to naming his five starters.

''We will let you know when we get it done,'' McCoy said. ''We are getting there. We are working hard every day. We will make an announcement when we are ready to go.''

McCoy wouldn't say what his rotation of linemen would be against the Cardinals this weekend. When Hardwick exited Thursday's game against the Bears with the starters, David Molk, Rich Ohrnberger and Colin Baxter took the reps.

''You'll see on Saturday night. You'll find out who is playing,'' McCoy said.

Back to Hardwick, a 10-year pro. Is he healthy?

''Yes,'' McCoy said. ''It's one of those ... it is the third week of camp, the third week of the preseason and you are going to see guys rest tomorrow also. There are certain guys we are going to give more time off.''

Others not working were inside linebacker Manti Te'o (right foot), wide receivers Malcom Floyd (knee) and Eddie Royal (bruised lung) and defensive end Corey Liuget (right shoulder sprain).

Tagged: Chargers, Nick Hardwick, King Dunlap

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