UPDATE: Sunday, December 16 at 8:05 p.m. ET by Ben Chodos
The San Diego Chargers' day just got much worse.
The San Diego Union-Tribune's Michael Gehlken reported the following on Ryan Mathews' shoulder injury.
Ryan Mathews broke his left clavicle. Broke right clavicle in preseason. Out for year.— Michael Gehlken (@UTgehlken) December 17, 2012
The loss to the Panthers eliminated the Chargers from the playoffs, and now both Mathews and his team will be looking towards 2013.
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UPDATE: Sunday, December 16 at 5:31 p.m. ET by Ian Hanford
Associated Press reporter Bernie Wilson reported that Mathews is officially out for the rest of Sunday's game:
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NBC's Annie Heilbrunn had the news:
Ryan Mathews taken into locker room for evaluation of shoulder injury. Return questionable. #chargers— Annie Heilbrunn (@annieheilbrunn) December 16, 2012
Followed by this from Rotoworld's Evan Silva:
FOX reporting #Chargers RB Ryan Mathews has left shoulder injury. Doubtful to return.— Evan Silva (@evansilva) December 16, 2012
Mathews' injury only made things worse for the Chargers on Sunday. One week after handing the Pittsburgh Steelers a shocking defeat in Week 14, San Diego fell behind the Panthers 21-0 in the first half.
The injured running back wouldn't have been the team's go-to guy for a comeback, but he's still an important player when it comes to keeping the offense balanced around Philip Rivers.
Mathews had 180 carries for 685 yards and one touchdown entering Sunday's game. He also had 36 catches. Injuries have kept the young running back from reaching his full potential throughout his three-year career, and this would be just another hurdle for him to clear.
It's not like the Chargers are in the middle of a postseason run, so this won't impact the team in that way, but it's still discouraging. Mathews was a first-round pick in 2010, but he can't help anyone while he's sitting on the sidelines.
With Mathews out of the lineup, the Chargers will turn to Jackie Battle and Ronnie Brown to carry the workload out of the backfield. Both players are experienced, so Norv Turner should feel comfortable with the situation.
Chargers fans probably aren't surprised by this injury, but they should still be disappointed. It's hard to tell if this is a long-term injury, but every Mathews injury elicits a sigh at this point.
Stay tuned for updates.