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 SAN DIEGO (AP) -Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman had his knee examined Wednesday in Alabama after lingering soreness kept him out of practice for more than a week.
Merriman underwent surgery to repair cartilage damage five months ago but has had persistent pain in the knee during training camp. He traveled to Birmingham to have the knee looked at by Dr. James Andrews, the surgeon who performed the operation.
``I think he wants to make sure he gets it checked out and make sure everything is all right with it,'' San Diego coach Norv Turner said after Wednesday's practice. ``When he's been able to practice and move around, he's looked awfully good to me.''
Merriman hasn't practiced this week and didn't play in a preseason loss Saturday to the St. Louis Rams. He missed three consecutive practices last week because of the sore knee and an illness he described as strep throat and fever.
Turner didn't express significant concern and he's hoping Merriman will be healthy by Sept. 7 when the Chargers open the regular season against the Carolina Panthers.
``I think we have a number of guys that are in that category who have some soreness, and my concern will be if it lingers,'' Turner said. ``Hopefully, it won't linger and hopefully in the next week to 10 days, he's going to be all right and ready to get going.''
Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates didn't practice Wednesday, one day after passing a physical and being taken off the physically unable to perform list. Gates had surgery six months ago to repair a tear in the plantar plate of his left foot.
``Obviously, this injury is one of those things you have to kind of handle daily,'' Gates said. ``I continue to monitor it because ideally I want to be at full strength come the opener.''

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