McCoy said the team’s starting running back, Ryan Mathews, suffered a concussion in the early portion of his team’s 27-17 loss at Oakland. Mathews appeared to suffer the injury on a 5-yard run in the second quarter, taking a knee to the head from an Oakland defensive player. McCoy said that in order for Mathews to return to the field, he will be subject to passing the NFL’s protocol for concussion testing.
“He had limited snaps until he got dinged, and then he came out,” McCoy said, when asked about Mathews’ injury.
Even with Mathews available against Oakland, Woodhead started the game at tailback. He finished with 13 rushing yards on nine carries (1.4 per carry), and caught another nine passes for 58 yards.
The Raiders stopped Woodhead short of the end zone on fourth-and-1 from Oakland’s 1-yard line in the first half. And Woodhead fumbled in the second half after a hard hit by Oakland linebacker Kevin Burnett jarred the ball loose, which resulted in a 25-yard fumble return for a score by Charles Woodson.
Woodhead, 28, carried the ball a career-high 97 times for 547 yards in 2010 for New England. He averaged 5.6 yards per carry that season, and caught 34 passes for 379 yards and a score.
With Mathews unavailable, McCoy said that he believes the 5-foot-8, 200-pound Woodhead could be a 20-carry guy in his offense.
“He’s done that before -- I think he can,” McCoy said. “We’ve got him and Ronnie, and Ryan will split the load as time goes on. There’s games where guys will get more touches than others, depending on the flow of the game. And you’re going to do whatever you think is best to win the game.”
McCoy said he’s fine with the team’s depth at running back if Mathews is unavailable this week. Ronnie Brown is the team’s only other tailback on the active roster.
San Diego has a couple other injured players that will have to heal up this week. Chargers left tackle Michael Harris appeared to suffer an ankle injury in the fourth quarter. Harris was replaced by Nick Becton.
“He’s getting some treatment now, and he’ll be day-to-day,” McCoy said about Harris.
Another injury concern is edge rusher Jarret Johnson, who limped off the field in the second half with an apparent leg injury and did not return. Johnson was replaced by Thomas Keiser.
Johnson is San Diego’s leading sack man with four sacks on the year. And with Dwight Freeney already done for the season with a quadriceps tear, the Chargers can’t afford to lose another frontline starter at that position.
“He was in this morning for some treatment and stuff,” McCoy said about Johnson. “And we’ll give you an update later this week as the days go on.”