Ryan Mathews RB SD 3 Months

Ryan Mathews (ankle) missed his third straight practice Friday.

Mathews has been playing without much practice time in recent weeks, but aggravated his ankle injury in last week's win at Cincinnati, and his availability for the Divisional Round is now in doubt. Mathews does have more time to heal up, as the Chargers don't play until Sunday evening against the Broncos. At this point, however, it's unclear whether Mathews will be a factor. He rushed 29 times in San Diego's Week 15 upset of Denver.

Ryan Mathews RB SD 3 Months

Ryan Mathews (ankle) remained out of Chargers practice Thursday.

This has been Mathews' routine in recent weeks. He's going to return on Friday and play on Sunday. Although Mathews will suit up against the Broncos, his injury is becoming a bigger concern by the week. Mathews barely took the field in the second half of last week's win over the Bengals. He's a boom-or-bust option in daily leagues for the Divisional Round.

Ryan Mathews RB SD 3 Months

Ryan Mathews (ankle) is not practicing Wednesday.

It's not a major concern, yet. Mathews has been held out on Wednesdays and Thursdays the past few weeks, as he's been dealing with the ankle injury. Mathews has already said he fully intends to play in Sunday's Divisional Round tilt against the Broncos.

Ryan Mathews RB SD 4 Months

Ryan Mathews (ankle) said his "mindset is I'm playing" in Sunday's Divisional Round game at Denver.

The ankle sprain Mathews has been battling for the last few weeks was bad enough that he sat out the majority of the second half at Cincy Sunday. So making declarations about his status for next week would obviously be premature. When the Chargers knocked off the Broncos in Week 15, Mathews dropped a 29/127/1 line.

Ryan Mathews RB SD 4 Months

Ryan Mathews rushed for 52 yards on 13 carries and caught two passes for 12 yards before exiting in the second half of Sunday's Wild Card round game with an aggravated ankle injury.

The Chargers came out running with Mathews as their bellcow, as they've done so frequently the past six weeks. He handled 15 of San Diego's first 30 offensive touches as a team. Mathews spent most of the second half on the sideline, however, ostensibly nursing the ankle injury that has nagged him the past few games. The Chargers had a comfortable lead and Andy Dalton turned the ball over three times in the final two frames, so there was no urgency to push Mathews back into the game. Unless his aggravation is more severe than we know, expect Mathews to be a bigger factor in the Divisional Round at Denver.

Ryan Mathews RB SD 4 Months

Ryan Mathews and Eddie Royal are both active for Sunday's Wild Card tilt at Cincinnati.

Ryan Mathews RB SD 4 Months

Ryan Mathews (ankle) is listed as probable for the Wild Card round.

This has become Mathews' routine, resting on Wednesday and Thursday before practicing on Friday and handling 20-plus carries on a weekly basis. No running back in the NFL handled more rushing attempts than Mathews over the final five weeks of 2013, and only LeSean McCoy tallied more rushing yards.

Ryan Mathews RB SD 4 Months1 Comment

Ryan Mathews (ankle) remained out of Chargers practice Thursday.

The Chargers are just managing Mathews' reps ahead of Sunday's Wild Card game. Mathews is going to play against the Bengals are escaping last week's win over the Chiefs without further injury.

Ryan Mathews RB SD 4 Months

Ryan Mathews (ankle) is not practicing Wednesday.

It's likely just a rest day for Mathews, who had 26 touches in the Chargers' Week 17 win over Kansas City. He's fully expected to play in Sunday's Wild Card game against the Bengals.

Ryan Mathews RB SD 4 Months

Ryan Mathews rushed 24 times for 144 yards and caught two passes for 11 yards in the Chargers' Week 17 win over Kansas City.

In a true breakout year, Mathews finishes the regular season with career highs in carries (285) and rushing yards (1,255), gaining 100 total yards or more in each of San Diego's final four games. Mathews only fumbled twice all year, losing one, and played in all 16 games. He's going to present an interesting conundrum in 2014 fantasy drafts. If we expect more of the same next season, Mathews will be every bit worthy of a second-round pick. Mathews was arguably the most improved running back in the entire NFL this year.