Ryan Mathews Injury: Latest on RB's Week 1 Status, Ronnie Brown's Reps and More

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IAugust 30, 2012

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 11:  Ryan Mathews #24 of the San Diego Chargers on the sidelines during the game against the Buffalo Bills at Qualcomm Stadium on December 11, 2011 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews is expected to miss the start of the regular season after suffering a broken clavicle in the team's preseason opener against the Green Bay Packers on August 9, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune's Michael Gehlken.

The Chargers open the regular season on the road against the division rival Oakland Raiders on Monday Night Football on September 10.


UPDATE: Saturday, September 8 at 4:35 p.m. ET by Richard Langford

The North County Times' Scott Bair, who is obviously fluent in Norv, lets us know who will be getting the bulk of the carries left behind in the absence of the now-ruled-out Mathews. 

Norv said Ronnie Brown will be "involved" that's turner-speak for he's getting the bulk of the touches.

— Scott Bair (@NCTchargers) September 8, 2012

Ronnie Brown is a capable back, but the Chargers are going to badly miss Mathews' explosiveness. 

The good news here is all reserved for fantasy owners—the dreaded game-time decision has been averted! 


UPDATE: Saturday, September 8 at 4:14 p.m. ET by Richard Langford

Mathews will not play this Sunday, according to U-T San Diego's Michael Gehlken.

Ryan Mathews (clavicle) and Jared Gaither (back) are listed as out. Antonio Garay (ankle) questionable. #Chargers

— Michael Gehlken (@UTgehlken) September 8, 2012

So the Chargers are going to be without their starting left tackle, and they will not have their best running back to help ease the load on what is likely going to be a hurried passing game. 

While this is less than optimal, at least the Chargers have had time to prepare for this eventuality. 


UPDATE: Saturday, September 8 at 9:58 a.m. ET

Ryan Mathews has not been cleared for contact yet and has been practicing individually, according to Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune via Twitter on Friday:

Ryan Mathews (shoulder) doesn't appear cleared for contact yet. Doing individual drills in shorts without helmet or pads.

— Michael Gehlken (@UTgehlken) September 7, 2012


--------------------END OF UPDATE--------------


UPDATE: Friday, Sept. 7 at 8:17 p.m. ET

Ryan Mathews has confirmed that he won't play in Week 1 against the Oakland Raiders on Monday night, via Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Gehlken tweeted on Friday:

Ryan Mathews (shoulder) has accepted he won't be ready to play Week 1. New goal is Week 2: utsd.us/NRb1Rx

— Michael Gehlken (@UTgehlken) September 8, 2012


UPDATE: Thursday, September 6 at 11 a.m. ET by Adam Wells

Their season hasn't started yet, but already the Chargers are receiving bad news. According to Scott Bair of the North County Times, Mathews has not been cleared for contact. 

"I don't have a schedule," Chargers coach Norv Turner said. "I will say that I love his attitude regarding the injury. He's doing everything possible to get back. He'd have to get the reps necessary to prepare for a game, and he's not at that point yet."

The Chargers would like to ease him back into practice and increase the contact he faces over time. The prospect of re-injury is a concern.

This is nothing new for Mathews, as he has missed six games in his first two seasons combined. As long as this isn't a lingering problem that will alter the way he runs, which the report makes it seem like it could be, he should be solid this season. 

--------------------END OF UPDATE--------------


UPDATE: Tuesday, September 4 at 2 p.m. ET

The Chargers are not expecting star RB Ryan Mathews to suit up for Monday night's contest against the Raiders, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, per ESPN's Bill Williamson:

ESPN’s Adam Schefter said on "SportsCenter" on Tuesday that the San Diego Chargers are not expecting running back Ryan Mathews to play Monday night at Oakland on ESPN’s "Monday Night Football."

Schefter said no final decision has been made. That tact makes sense. 

Mathews is surely making progress from a broken clavicle he suffered Aug. 9 on his first carry of the reason. He returned to practice Monday on a limited basis, but he has yet to be cleared for contact. We will see how Mathews -- who said he is hopeful of playing Sunday -- does this week. But at this point, it seems like it will be a long shot. 

If Mathews can’t play, the Chargers will use a rotation that includes Ronnie Brown, Le’Ron McClain and Curtis Brinkley against the Raiders.

--------------------END OF UPDATE--------------


Veteran running back Ronnie Brown has seen some looks in San Diego's backfield since Mathews went down a few weeks ago.

Here's Gehlken discussing evidence that points to Ronnie Brown being the Chargers' Week 1 starter:

It's no secret Turner likes Brown. If there was someone in the backfield who'd get 20 carries, it'd likely stand as the 30-year-old, whom Turner calls a “complete player." "Yeah,” Turner said with a smile. “He could be the guy.”

Of course, Brown is a significant downgrade at running back. He has rushed the ball just 10 times this preseason for a total of 30 yards. 

Last season, Brown played in all 16 games for the Philadelphia Eagles but carried the ball 42 times for just 136 yards. He finished the season with a dismal 3.2 yards-per-carry average. 

Mathews, meanwhile, rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2011. And he will be missed tremendously in the passing game as well. He caught 50 passes for 455 yards last season out of the backfield. 

If Brown starts the season at running back for San Diego, Chargers fans can expect a hefty dose of Philip Rivers through the air in the team's first couple of games.

Stay tuned for the latest news and updates on Ryan Mathews' recovery, as well as the Chargers' plans at running back heading into their Week 1 matchup with Oakland.