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NFL San Diego Chargers

Ryan Mathews’ injury history puts San Diego Chargers front office in a tough spot

Ryan Mathews San Diego Chargers

Jake Roth-USA Today Sports

The San Diego Chargers traded up in the 2010 NFL Draft to select Ryan Mathews with the 12th pick in round one.  Mathews has a history of injury problems which goes back to college.

Mathews missed five games with a knee injury as a sophomore in 2008, missed four games as a rookie in 2010, missed two games last season and will miss four games this season.

Mathews broke his right clavicle against the Green Bay Packers in August and broke his left clavicle against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday which ended his 2012 season.

San Diego’s front office may think about trading Mathews during the offseason, but his play on the field this season and his injury history will be a tough sell to another franchise.

Mathews ranked 10th in the NFL with 1,091 rushing yards last season and averaged 78 rushing yards per game. Mathews’ 707 yards rank 23rd in the league and he averages 59 yards per game.

Mathews averaged 4.9 yards per rushing attempt to go along with six touchdowns last season while he dropped to a career low 3.8 yards per attempt this season with one rushing touchdown.

Another problem with trading Mathews is that in the NFL, teams are unlikely to get equal value on their return.

For example, Brandon Marshall was traded to the Chicago Bears for two third round picks during the off-season.  Marshall ranks first, second and third in receptions, receiving yards and TD receptions this season.

If San Diego trades Mathews and he returns to his 2011 form, the front office will look like morons for getting rid of him.  If Mathews continues to suffer injuries, he will never live up to his draft hype.

San Diego is stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to Mathews.  He is San Diego’s sixth first round pick in the last eight seasons to have injury problems in the league.