Charlie the Chocolate Lab has been downgraded from probable to questionable for this Sunday’s Puppy Bowl following a lackluster romp in the living room.

“Charlie just wasn’t his usual self with that back left leg acting up on him,” said Animal Planet producer Jerry Kendall. “As much as he wants to go this Sunday, he knows it wouldn’t be fair to the other puppies out there.”

Not everyone is convinced about the extent of the 4-month-old Labrador’s injury, however.

“My Frodo has had diarrhea for weeks and I guarantee he’ll be out there on Sunday,” said the owner of Frodo, a 5-month-old Terrier. “This isn’t some random dog show on a Tuesday night in October. This is the Puppy Bowl! You’d have to drag Frodo off that stage … or at least snap your fingers and give him one of his favorite treats.”

Producers were quick to defend the adorable pup, saying every dog is different and “the only one who knows if he can frolic at an elite level is Charlie.”

2012 UPDATE: Charlie has fully recovered and was recently spotted frolicking in a park.

“While we can never replace the experience that would have been Puppy Bowl VII, we’re happy to report that Charlie is as cute as ever … for a 1-year-old,” said Charlie’s owner Lucy Bender. “I’m sure if Charlie could talk he would wish all of this year’s participants the very best. Personally, I think the event is a bit played-out, but that’s just my opinion.”

Heckler George