PRO FOOTBALL REPORT / WEEKDAY UPDATE : CHARGERS : Patten Scheduled to Return to Practice

The Chargers' beleaguered offensive line is expected to receive a jolt of good news next week.

Tackle Joel Patten, who missed training camp and who has been unable to play for the Chargers to date, will return to practice Monday and should be able to play against Pittsburgh Oct. 7.

Patten was the team's starting left tackle last season.

"That's the plan," Gary Losse, the Chargers' team physician, said Wednesday. "He's doing fine. He could fall down a flight of stairs or something, but if all goes well, we hope to have him playing against Pittsburgh."

Patten underwent arthroscopic knee surgery shortly before training camp and was placed on injured reserve when the regular season opened.

"He's right on schedule," Losse said. "He had to get the strength back, and there was no pain. He began running, and there was some pain, and we backed off. But now he's running again with no pain and essentially he can do everything now without problem."

Patten is not eligible to come off injured reserve until Monday, and if he does, the club will have to remove a player from its 47-man roster.

Just hours after learning of nose tackle Joe Phillips' unfortunate situation, the team gave a tryout to 6-3, 300-pound defensive lineman Tony Savage, who had been with the Jets.

Starting safety Vencie Glenn, who is recovering from a concussion and sore neck, did not practice Wednesday, and was listed as questionable for Sunday's game with Houston.

"Don't know if I'm going to play Sunday," Glenn said. "I'll make that decision when the times comes. I will make it.

"I'll be back. I'm not saying it's this game, but I'll be back."

Coach Dan Henning said the team may consider placing the safety on injured reserve, thereby losing him for four weeks, if Glenn continues to be bothered by his sore neck.

"I don't think there's any danger medically, but he's had trauma to the neck and he's had headaches," Henning said. "Somewhere along the line Vencie and I will sit down and make the decision that's best for the team.

"If he's ready to play Sunday then we're OK. If he doesn't we'll have to discuss the possibility of resting him more than just the week. We can take the possibility of putting him down (on injured reserve) and letting him have it checked periodically for a couple of weeks, and strengthen it and go from there."

The club announced it had re-signed safety Michael Brooks, who had been released at the end of training camp. Brooks fills Phillips' vacant roster spot and demonstrates the team's concern with Glenn's status.

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