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Thursday, November 28, 2013
Mathews, Dunlap return to practice

By Eric D. Williams

SAN DIEGO -- Two impact players returned to practice on Thursday for the San Diego Chargers.

Mathews
Running back Ryan Mathews (hamstring) and starting left tackle King Dunlap (neck) both practiced on Thanksgiving Day.

Mathews had to leave last week’s win against Kansas City in the second half because of a lingering hamstring issue he’s been dealing with for the past few weeks. But Mathews is expected to play on Sunday.

Dunlap has not practiced since suffering a neck injury against Washington on Nov. 3. Rookie D.J. Fluker has started the past two games at left tackle in place of Dunlap.

“It’s good to get him out there,” San Diego coach Mike McCoy said about Dunlap's return. “Like we’ve said, we try to get all 53 out as soon as we can. They’ve all worked extremely hard at this point in time, so when you have injuries, certain players take it differently. And it’s hard for certain guys to sit out. So it’s good to get him back out there.”

In his fourth season, Mathews is 11th in the NFL in rushing with 721 yards, and is on pace to have his second 1000-yard rushing season.

Mathews is one of five running backs this season with at least three 100-yard rushing games. A group that includes LeSean McCoy (4), Adrian Peterson (4), Eddie Lacy (3), Marshawn Lynch (3) and Alfred Morris (3).

Tight end Antonio Gates (hamstring), center Nick Hardwick (neck), safety Darrell Stuckey (concussion) and receiver Eddie Royal (toe/chest) did not practice for a second straight day.

Linebacker Jarret Johnson (hand) practiced for a second straight day. He was a limited participant, along with Dunlap and Mathews.

Defensive end Lawrence Guy (toe), defensive end Corey Liuget (shin) and long snapper Mike Windt (ankle) were full participants for a second straight day.