Update: Sunday, Sept. 23 at 2:40 p.m. ET by Adam Wells
According to Michael Ghelkin of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Mathews will be active and in the lineup for the Chargers against the Falcons on Sunday.
Ryan Mathews and Antonio Gates are both active for today's game. Ronnie Brown inactive.— Michael Gehlken (@UTgehlken) September 23, 2012
The Chargers desperately need a boost to their running attack. They have managed to get to 2-0 with a lot of smoke and mirrors in the backfield. It also helped they were playing Oakland and Tennessee.
Given all the challenges the Falcons present on both offense and defense, the Chargers need all the help they can get.
---END OF UPDATE---
Update: Sunday, Sept. 23 at 10:15 a.m. ET by Adam Wells
The Chargers anemic rushing attack appears ready to get a big boost from Ryan Mathews, who has yet to play this season due to a collarbone injury.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN (via Rotoworld), Mathews is expected to suit up for Sunday's game against Atlanta.
Schefter adds that San Diego may scale back Mathews' workload in his first game back after missing six and a half half weeks of action. He's unlikely to lose early-down work to uninspiring backups Curtis Brinkley or Ronnie Brown, but he could be replaced occasionally on third-downs.
This has to be a great relief to the Chargers, who rank 23rd in the NFL with 90 yards per game on the ground, and fantasy owners who were expecting a breakthrough season from Mathews after he ran for 1,000 yards last season.
---END OF UPDATE---
Update: Thursday, Sept. 20 at 6:27 p.m. ET by Tyler Conway
Good news continues to come out about the status of Ryan Mathews for Sunday's contest against the Atlanta Falcons.
Norv Turner said he's confident Ryan Mathews, barring setback, will face the Falcons on Sunday.— Michael Gehlken (@UTgehlken) September 20, 2012
Considering the struggles of San Diego's running attack thus far, Mathews' return could not come at a better time.
Update: Wednesday, Sept. 19 at 5:17 p.m. ET
Gehlken tweeted on Wednesday:
Ryan Mathews (clavicle) and Antonio Gates (ribs) both practicing today after missing Sunday's game.— Michael Gehlken (@UTgehlken) September 19, 2012
--- End of Update ---
San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews is nearing his return from a collarbone injury that has kept him out of the first two games of the 2012 season.
Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported via Twitter that head coach Norv Turner is expecting his top rusher to be available this weekend:
Norv Turner said he expects Ryan Mathews to practice Wednesday. ... All signs point to return Sunday against Falcons.— Michael Gehlken (@UTgehlken) September 17, 2012
The 24-year-old was set to start the year as the Chargers’ feature back but broke his clavicle in the team’s first preseason game on August 9. He has not been on the field since the injury.
This has labeled the third-year player as injury prone, and his history is reason for concern over his ability to take on the load of a feature back.
Despite the injuries last season, Mathews gained 1,091 yards and averaged 4.9 yards per carry while scoring six touchdowns. He also caught 50 passes for 455 yards.
This production was enough to earn him a selection as a Pro Bowl alternate. The Chargers will hope that he can continue to improve with an increased role in the offense.
During Mathews’ absence, the Chargers have used Curtis Brinkley, Jackie Battle and Ronnie Brown at running back. None of these three have been overly impressive, and the Chargers are averaging just 3.1 yards per carry as a team, which ranks 28th in the NFL.
With Mathews back in the lineup, he should receive the bulk of the carries. He will certainly be worth starting in any fantasy league if the news continues to be positive this week.
Check back to this page for updates on his injury status going forward.