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Ryan Mathews Injury Update: Chargers RB To Start Against Falcons?

By Jason Van Hoven - Posted: 09/17/12 11:22AM EDT
Ryan Mathews

Mathews (C) led the Chargers with 1,091 yards rushing last season, which earned him a trip to the Pro Bowl. (Photo: Reuters)

San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews, having been out for a month due to injury, should be expected to start this Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The main reason that Mathews didn't play in Week 2 against the Tennessee Titans was because of a lack of practice time, which means that doctors have given him full clearance to play. As a result, he will most likely participate in his first full week of practice since breaking his collarbone on his first carry of the preseason on Aug. 9.

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After Mathews broke his collarbone, he was expected to miss between four and six weeks. Nevertheless, it was in late August that it looked like he could have been ready for San Diego's season opener at Oakland on Monday Sept. 10. Mathews told the North County Times on Aug. 26 that he was "ahead of schedule" and couldn't wait to get back on the field.

Now, Mathews has a good chance of returning and being the three-down back the Chargers need in making the offense more explosive. Ronnie Brown came over in the offseason after six seasons with the Miami Dolphins and one with the Philadelphia Eagles to be the primary backup, but has only carried the ball nine times for a total of 13 yards. Former Kansas City Chiefs back Jackie Battle, who started four games for the Chiefs last year, is the one who leads the team, however, with 69 rushing yards on 14 carries.

Curtis Brinkley and fullback Le'Ron McClain have also contributed to the ground game and leading the Chargers to a 2-0 record, but having Mathews back can relieve the pressure of having so many backs stabilize the offense. Just Mathews and one other back can dominate the ground game, which will allow the passing attack to open up more.

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