San Diego Chargers: NFL injury wire

SAN DIEGO -- Philip Rivers practiced on Tuesday this week, a sign that his back is in better shape heading into Sunday’s final regular-season game against AFC West rival Kansas City.

Rivers
Rivers did not practice on Tuesday or Wednesday of last week in order to rest a bulging disk in his back. Chargers head coach Mike McCoy said earlier this week Rivers is expected to play on Sunday.

Rivers said last week that he had to take the time off so that he could physically be ready to play against San Francisco. But that’s not the case this week.

“I definitely feel better than last week,” Rivers said.

Rivers also said with new players such as receiver Dontrelle Inman, center Trevor Robinson and guard Jeremiah Sirles taking on a larger role in the offense, the practice reps are important. Rivers said with the practice schedule switched around -- the players will take Thursday off for Christmas -- he should be a full participant in practice all week.

“It is good,” Rivers said. “Not just my preparation, but I think us having practice reps together.”

While Rivers practiced, receiver Keenan Allen (shoulder, ankle), running back Ryan Mathews (ankle), punter Mike Scifres (shoulder) and center Chris Watt (ankle) did not practice on Tuesday. The Chargers are not required to release an injury report on Tuesday, so the official designation of San Diego players will not be released until Wednesday.
SAN DIEGO – Chargers coach Mike McCoy could have some reinforcements this week heading into the team’s final regular-season contest against the Kansas City Chiefs.

McCoy said running back Ryan Mathews and receiver Keenan Allen are possibilities to return to practice and ultimately to the field on game day.

Mathews
Mathews missed the past two games with a severe ankle sprain and has not practiced over the period. Allen missed last week’s game against the San Francisco 49ers with a broken collarbone and an ankle injury.

McCoy did not provide injury updates on center Chris Watt (ankle), guard Johnnie Troutman (knee) and cornerback Shareece Wright (concussion). However, he praised the guys who replaced them in backup center Trevor Robinson, guard Jeremiah Sirles and cornerback Steve Williams.

McCoy also said that quarterback Philip Rivers is expected to play on Sunday against the Chiefs. Rivers has been dealing with a bulging disk in his back that was injured against the Baltimore Ravens on No. 30. McCoy said whether Rivers will continue playing with the injury is a group decision, and that it’s not career threatening.

“If that was the case and we didn’t think he could play this Sunday, we wouldn’t put him in there,” McCoy said. “We have plenty of medical advice, not just with Philip, but with everyone in this organization and in the NFL. Everyone has had some form of injury that they deal with at some point of the year. Philip will play on Sunday.”

Rivers did not practice on Monday and Tuesday last week to rest his ailing back. The Chargers could take a similar tact with Rivers this week.
SAN DIEGO – The Chargers might have finally reached the tipping point in terms of injuries this season in order to realistically have a chance of making the playoffs.

Inside linebacker Donald Butler (dislocated elbow) has been placed on the injured reserve with their respective injuries. Mike Scifres and Keenan Allen have broken collarbones, putting the rest of their seasons in jeopardy.

Ryan Mathews did not practice on Tuesday after missing last week’s game with a severely sprained ankle. And Philip Rivers did not throw during the early portion of practice available to reporters, obviously resting from chest and back issues he has been dealing with.

Tight end Ladarius Green (concussion, ankle) returned to practice after missing last week’s game against Denver. Dwight Freeney and D.J. Fluker also were on the field practicing on Tuesday.
SAN DIEGO – Running back Ryan Mathews did not practice for a third day in a row on Friday, but is listed as questionable on the injury report for the San Diego Chargers as they prepare for the team’s last regular-season home game, against the Denver Broncos.

Mathews suffered a right ankle injury late in the first half against the New England Patriots last week, carrying the ball just two times in the second half. Backups Donald Brown, Branden Oliver and Ronnie Brown have taken the bulk of the reps in practice with Mathews unavailable.

Mathews
However, even though Mathews has not practiced this week, Chargers coach Mike McCoy says the Fresno State product still could be part of his team’s game plan against the Broncos.

“He’ll be fine,” McCoy said. “He’s played plenty of football in his career, and he knows what to do. He’s been here. He’s been in the system for the two years we’ve been here together, so he’ll be fine.”

One player who has intently watched Mathews perform on the field since his return from an MCL knee sprain in Week 10 is Oliver. The rookie out of Buffalo handled the bulk of the running load for the Chargers when Mathews missed seven games. Oliver ran for more than 100 yards in back-to-back games against the New York Jets and the Oakland Raiders in October. But since then, Oliver has totaled just 144 rushing yards in six games, averaging 2.8 yards per carry.

“When Ryan came back, it actually helped my game to see how he runs, to see how patient he is at the point of attack when he gets the ball,” Oliver said.

Defensive lineman Corey Liuget (ankle) and tight end Ladarius Green (concussion, ankle) practiced on Friday for the first time this week. Both were limited participants, and also are questionable for Sunday.

Defensive tackle Ryan Carrethers (elbow) was a limited participant on Friday and is listed as doubtful for Sunday’s game. Punter Mike Scifres (shoulder) did not practice all week and has been ruled out. Quarterback Philip Rivers (chest) was a full participant in practice and has been listed as probable.
SAN DIEGO -- Cornerback Jason Verrett and linebacker Manti Te'o have been ruled out for Sunday's game at the Miami Dolphins, and safety Jahleel Addae has not practiced all week due to a concussion. He’s listed as doubtful, although there’s a chance he could clear the NFL’s concussion protocol this weekend in time to play on Sunday.

Outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu was a limited participant for a second straight day with a hamstring issue, and is listed as questionable.

Donald Brown (concussion), Brandon Flowers (concussion), Dwight Freeney (knee), Rich Ohrnberger (back), Reggie Walker (ankle) and Steve Williams (groin) are all probable for Sunday.
SAN DIEGO -- The San Diego Chargers could have all five projected starting offensive linemen healthy for the first time since Week 3 when the team travels to Oakland to face the AFC West division rival Raiders on Sunday.

Fluker
Center Rich Ohrnberger and right tackle D.J. Fluker were both full participants on Friday and are listed as questionable for Sunday.

After missing the past two games with a back issue, Ohrnberger practiced all week and appeared not to suffer a setback that would put his availability in jeopardy.

However, if Ohrnberger can’t go, rookie Chris Watt and recent addition Trevor Robinson would be potential replacements.

“I’m just following closely the procedures that they’ve put in place for me,” Ohrnberger said. “So whatever they tell me to do, I’m doing to the best of my ability. And the results are the results. But the end goal is to get back as soon as possible.”

Fluker did not practice this week until Friday because of an ankle injury. If Fluker can’t play, swing tackle Willie Smith would get his first career start for San Diego.

“It felt good getting back out there because I can’t stand being inside trying to rehab,” Fluker said. “I think it was the best thing for me, but being out there felt good. We’ll just see how it goes.”

Along with Ohrnberger and Fluker, Jarret Johnson (back/ankle), Reggie Walker (ankle), Malcom Floyd (calf), Cordarro Law (ankle) and Darrell Stuckey (quad) are questionable for Sunday. Law did not practice on Friday.

Ryan Mathews (knee), Donald Brown (concussion), Shareece Wright (knee) and Manti Te’o (foot) have been ruled out for Sunday’s game in Oakland.
SAN DIEGO -- Running back Ryan Mathews was not on the practice field for the early portion of practice on Friday, the first time he’s missed a Friday practice since suffering an ankle injury against Oakland three weeks ago.

Mathews
Mathews’ absence is not a good sign for the San Diego Chargers, who need the bruising running back available to provide balance offensively.

Mathews ran for 127 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown, in a 27-20 win against Denver in December. If Mathews can’t go, Danny Woodhead and Ronnie Brown likely will split carries at running back for San Diego.

Mathews appeared to tweak his ankle against Cincinnati last week. He carried the ball only one time in the second half of San Diego’s 27-10 playoff win against the Bengals.

Along with Mathews, guard Jeromey Clary (shoulder) and receiver Eddie Royal (toe) are not practicing on Friday.

The Chargers did receive some good news, with center Nick Hardwick (concussion) clearing the NFL’s concussion protocol and returning to practice on Friday. Hardwick had a helmet and went through individual drills with the first-unit offensive line during the early portion of practice, while Clary watched on the side.

Right tackle D.J. Fluker (ankle) also practiced for a second straight day.
SAN DIEGO -- For a second straight day, running back Ryan Mathews and center Nick Hardwick did not practice for the San Diego Chargers, creating some uncertainty that they will be available for Sunday’s AFC divisional round contest at Denver.

Mathews
Mathews continues to wear a protective walking boot on his ailing left ankle to speed up the healing process. Hardwick sported a baseball cap and jersey while watching his position group go through individual drills during the early stages of practice.

San Diego coach Mike McCoy provided no timetable for either player's return. However, McCoy indicated on Wednesday that Mathews was on the same management program by the team’s training staff as the last two weeks, sitting out on Wednesday and Thursday, working as a limited participant on Friday, and playing on Sunday.

Hardwick has yet to pass the NFL’s concussion protocol.

Along with those two, receiver Eddie Royal (toe) and guard Jeromey Clary (shoulder) did not practice. But right tackle D.J. Fluker (ankle) returned as a limited participant after missing practice on Wednesday.

Defensive tackle Sean Lissemore (shoulder) also was a limited participant on Thursday, and left tackle King Dunlap (ankle), defensive end Kendall Reyes (ankle), and safety Eric Weddle (hamstring) were full participants.

Weddle missed practice on Wednesday as a rest day.
SAN DIEGO -- As expected, running back Ryan Mathews was not visible during the early portion of practice for the San Diego Chargers on Wednesday.

Mathews has been nursing a lingering ankle issue for the past three weeks.

For the past two weeks, Mathews has not practiced on Wednesday and Thursday, worked as a limited participant on Friday and played in the game on Sunday.

Along with Mathews, safety Eric Weddle, receiver Eddie Royal and offensive linemen Nick Hardwick and D.J. Fluker were not working during individual drills.

Hardwick re-aggravated a neck stinger that he’s been battling during the second half of the season in Sunday's game at Cincinnati, while Fluker is dealing with an ankle issue.

Royal has a toe injury that he’s played with since suffering the injury against Indianapolis on Oct. 14. Weddle’s absence appears to be more of a rest day for the 29-year-old veteran.

Mike McCoy mum on Ryan Mathews

January, 6, 2014
1/06/14
6:30
PM ET
SAN DIEGO -- As expected, San Diego Chargers head coach Mike McCoy failed to shed any light on the status of the team's every-down running back, Ryan Mathews.

Mathews
Asked if Mathews, who has been dealing with an ailing ankle for the past three weeks, would play in his team’s AFC divisional round contest at Denver on Sunday, McCoy wouldn’t bite.

“I think we had this discussion last week,” McCoy said. “I’ll give you an update as the week goes along.”

OK, so will Mathews practice on Wednesday?

“I’ll let you know on Wednesday,” McCoy said.

McCoy’s approach to offering information on his team’s injury situation all season has been to provide as little information as possible, therefore providing his opponent as little information as possible on his team’s most important players.

Mathews entered the AFC wild-card contest against Cincinnati with a balky ankle. He did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday heading into the contest, wearing a protective boot on his left ankle to help the injury heal.

Mathews was a limited participant at practice on Friday, and listed as probable for the Cincinnati game. Mathews rushed for 52 yards on 13 carries against the Bengals, but gave way to Danny Woodhead and Ronnie Brown after one carry in the second half.

Mathews suffered the injury on Dec. 22 against Oakland. After receiving treatment for the injury, Mathews returned to the contest in the second half against the Raiders.

The Chargers rushed for a season-high 196 yards in a 27-10 win against Cincinnati. The last time San Diego played Denver, a 27-20 win, Mathews ran for 127 yards on 29 carries, including a 23-yard touchdown run.

Mathews, 26, is having his best season as a pro. He played a full, 16-game season for the first time in four NFL seasons, finishing with a career-high 1,255 yards and seven total touchdowns during the regular season.

Mathews’ injury status for Sunday’s game is important because he’s been a focal part of San Diego’s success offensively in the second half of the season. In games Mathews has rushed at least 19 times, the Chargers are 7-1.

McCoy would not say if his team's game plan would change if Mathews can’t play on Sunday.

“We’re going to put a game plan in that we think is best to win this football game,” McCoy said. “And we’ll play with whoever we’ve got.”
SAN DIEGO -- As expected, workhorse running back Ryan Mathews returned to practice Friday for the San Diego Chargers.

Mathews
Just like last week, Mathews missed practice with an ankle issue the first two days of the work week but was a limited participant Friday. Mathews is probable for Sunday's AFC wild-card game at Cincinnati.

Receiver Eddie Royal was the only player who did not practice for San Diego. Royal is questionable for Sunday's game with lingering toe issue, but likely will play. Defensive lineman Sean Lissemore was a limited participant due to a shoulder injury, and also is questionable for the Cincinnati game.

Defensive end Kendall Reyes was a full participant with an ankle issue. Reyes is listed as probable.

The Chargers have several players available for Sunday's contest who did not play in the first matchup against the Bengals. They include receiver Royal, linebackers Melvin Ingram and Jarret Johnson and left tackle King Dunlap.

"Any game that you can play with your full roster, those are the guys you were counting on," San Diego coach Mike McCoy said. "Unfortunately that happened last time. But hey, that's all part of the deal. We've got good depth on this team, guys have stepped up all year long and that's the key."

As they usually have done for games on the East Coast, the Chargers loaded up the bus and headed for the airport for an afternoon flight, with an expected arrival in Cincinnati sometime late Friday evening.

"We talked about our approach to the game," McCoy said, when asked what he told players at the end of practice. "We had a great week of practice, and that's the most important thing. I told the players to have a great week of practice, have confidence in what you're doing and go cut it loose."
SAN DIEGO -- Chargers head coach Mike McCoy didn't appear too concerned about running back Ryan Mathews not practicing for a second straight day on Thursday due to a lingering ankle injury.

Mathews
“He's on the same plan that he was on last week,” McCoy said. “He did the same thing -- he missed Wednesday and Thursday, and then came out Friday and practiced, and he had an outstanding game.”

Along with Mathews, receiver Eddie Royal (toe) did not practice on Thursday. However, Royal is expected to play as well against Cincinnati on Sunday.

Defensive lineman Kendall Reyes (ankle) was a full participant in practice on Thursday. Reyes was a limited on Wednesday. And for a second straight day, Sean Lissemore (shoulder) was a full participant.

With all their starters projected to play against Cincinnati, the Chargers remain the healthiest they've been all season.
SAN DIEGO -- Running back Ryan Mathews was one of two players listed as not practicing on the San Diego Chargers' injury report Wednesday.

Mathews
Mathews wore a protective boot on his injured left ankle coming off of the field at the end of practice. But he says that everything is fine. Mathews did not practice most of last week but still played against Kansas City, rushing for a season-high 144 yards on 24 carries.

"I'm fine," Mathews said. "I'm good. You just have to stay in it mentally."

Along with Mathews, receiver Eddie Royal (toe) did not practice. But both are expected to play Sunday in Cincinnati.

Defensive linemen Sean Lissemore (shoulder) and Kendal Reyes (ankle) were limited in practice.

Outside linebacker Thomas Keiser did not make himself available to reporters in the locker room after practice to discuss his recent arrest.

San Diego coach Mike McCoy said the team is handling Keiser's situation internally. Keiser did practice Wednesday and is expected to play on Sunday.

"We discussed it early Monday morning -- that's the first thing we did in the team meeting," McCoy said. "We addressed it, said 'Here's how we're handling it.' And we're moving on."

Keiser, 24, was arrested over the weekend on a misdemeanor battery charge after an altercation with another man in a restaurant that turned into a fight Sunday after San Diego's overtime win over Kansas City.

"Thomas is our teammate, our family and we support him," safety Eric Weddle said. "And until they figure all of that out we're worried about the Bengals."
SAN DIEGO -- Running back Ryan Mathews was not visible during the early portion of practice on Wednesday for the San Diego Chargers. Mathews has been nursing an ankle injury suffered against Oakland two weeks ago.

The Fresno State product has been a workhorse running back for the Chargers. Mathews has carried the ball at least 24 times in four straight games, all wins for San Diego. In games in which Mathews has carried the ball at least 19 times, the Chargers are 7-1.

Mathews did not practice most of last week, but still played against Kansas City.

Receiver Eddie Royal also was not visible during the early portion of practice. Royal has not practiced on a regular basis since suffering a toe injury against Indianapolis on Oct. 12. Royal only missed one game the rest of the season.

Defensive end Thomas Keiser was dressed in a helmet and shoulder pads, and practiced today. Keiser, 24, was arrested over the weekend on a misdemeanor battery charge after an altercation with another man in a restaurant that turned into a fight.

Keiser was arrested at about 11 p.m. on Sunday, hours after his team’s victory over Kansas City. Keiser is expected to be available for Sunday’s playoff game at Cincinnati.
SAN DIEGO -- With a heavily taped left ankle, San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews practiced for the first time this week.

Mathews was a limited participant on Friday and is listed as probable on the team’s injury report.

“He did a good job,” San Diego coach Mike McCoy said. “Like we said back earlier in the week when we talked to you guys, get him to Sunday as healthy as possible. And that’s the whole football team, not just him but everybody else, also.”

Receiver Eddie Royal was the only San Diego player who did not practice on Friday. Royal has a toe issue he’s been dealing with for the second half of the season and is listed as questionable.

Along with Mathews, defensive lineman Sean Lissemore (shoulder) was a limited participant and is listed as probable on the team’s injury report.

Cornerback Shareece Wright (foot), guard Jeromey Clary (hand) and outside linebacker Thomas Keiser (elbow) were full participants in practice and are listed as probable.

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