Linebacker David Grayson, who played at Lincoln High School and returned to play for the Chargers last season, continues to wait on his mending broken leg.
Grayson broke his right leg on a punt return in the third quarter of his Charger debut on Sept. 15, 1991.
At the time, Grayson was told his leg would mend in four to six weeks and allow for his return to action.
However, he's still waiting for medical clearance.
Grayson attends the team's defensive meetings each day, lifts weights, rides a bike and attends practice. But on Sundays, he's a spectator.
"This is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life," Grayson said. "I realize now how easy it is to play football compared to this. It's not playing . . . it's out of my hands. My body just has to heal."
Coach Bobby Ross had big plans for Grayson after reviewing his earlier linebacking work with the Cleveland Browns. He thought he would have Grayson back Aug. 1 for training camp, and then that date was amended to Aug. 15 and then Sept. 1.
Ross is no longer counting on Grayson for the 1992 season.
"He's still running with a limp, and although there is some progress there, it's very very slow," Ross said. "At this point I'd say no to getting any help this year. It's wait until next year, unless something remarkable happens in a short period of time."
Grayson becomes eligible to rejoin the Chargers' active roster next week, but Grayson said X-rays still indicate that his broken leg has not completely healed.
"I have a metal plate and eight screws in there holding the bones together and there are a couple of small spots that haven't healed," Grayson said. "It hurts when I run, but it's coming along. It's just up to my body now.
"I'm so glad to come home and have a chance to play here that I'm willing to go through this. It just comes down to being patient and getting yourself ready to go when you get the chance to play again. I know I'm going to play again, and it's just a matter of when."
Rookies James Fuller (safety), Marquez Pope (cornerback) and Eric Jonassen (tackle) continue to practice daily, but Ross said he expects to keep all three players on injured reserve.
"They are kind of like gravy as far as I am concerned," Ross said. "They are money in the bank. If somebody would go down in th secondary, we could activate them, but the way our secondary is playing I see no changes right now."
Fuller made a big impression in training camp before undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery, and Pope is still trying to make the transition from safety to corner.
Ross said Jonassen needs a lot of work, and with the acquisition of Houston rookie tackle Mike Mooney, there is no pressing need to add Jonassen to the roster.
The Chargers practiced in full equipment Thursday and introduced several new offensive formations.
"We changed a few patterns around and it slowed us down a little bit," Ross said. "We had a few problems, and we didn't work Anthony Miller because he has a bruised knee. It's nothing serious, but that slowed us down a little bit."
Ross said the team will practice today without pads and will work on its no-huddle defense in preparation for the Chargers' next game with the Colts a week from Sunday.