If you are just getting up and around, and decided to turn in early last night you probably missed the news that San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews broke his clavicle on his first carry of the preseason. I didn’t get to see the game live, but I watched the replay late last night and the injury didn’t seem terrible. Even when he was leaving the field, it didn’t look like a significant injury, but the next thing you know he’s not on the sidelines and poof it’s all over. I of course have some thoughts on the subject, so I wanted to share them.
Of course Mathews was hurt. It’s never a matter of if with him, it’s a matter of when. I tweeted just before training camp that my over/under for his missed games was 2.5. I am guessing now, take the over. Mathews is a very talented player who just simply can’t stay out of his own way. From the time he was drafted with the 12th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, he’s battled injuries and fumbles, really limiting what he can do on the field. I’m sure Chargers fans were cautiously optimistic about his season, and most fantasy football gurus had him among the top 5 running backs to draft. This why while I play fantasy football almost as a part of my job, my fantasies involve Megan Fox and not Brandon Jacobs.
What’s the prognosis? I know that most media outlets are saying Mathews will be out around 6 weeks, putting him on the field for the third or fourth game of the season. This may very well be true, but lets say he does miss those first 3 games. Before the injury I’d have put them at 2-1 in the first 3 games with a division win over the Oakland Raiders. Now, I’ll lean 1-2 with a division loss against those same Raiders. This is significant in an AFC West that’s ripe for the picking.
But bigger picture, don’t be shocked if this is simply a springboard for Mathews to be dinged up all season. Don’t me surprised if he “tweaks” his shoulder at some point in the season, there will be discussion he came back to soon, and all the while when he’s on the sidelines the running game of the Chargers will be in the hands of veterans Ronnie Brown and Le’Ron McClain. Both very much serviceable players, but for a team that’s 2 years removed from the playoffs I think hopes were high that the impact of Mathews on the run game would really ease some of the impact of the team losing wide receiver Vincent Jackson.
I’m not a Chargers fan, but I hate this for them. The rest of the team, especially quarterback Philip Rivers needs to step up and weather this and be prepared for yet another season with Mathews in and out of the lineup.
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