Ryan Mathews RB SD 4 Months

Ryan Mathews believes the Chargers' addition of Donald Brown will help him hold up physically in 2014.

In other words, Mathews expects Brown to take some of his carries, catches, and snaps. Mathews played all 16 games for the first time in his career last year, finishing as the No. 12 overall fantasy running back. "I (want to) make it more than 16 games," is Mathews' goal for 2014. "That was a big goal last year: 'Alright, let's get him through 16 games.' We did that. Now the goal is to keep me healthy, keep running after 16 games."

Ryan Mathews RB SD 5 Months

Chargers GM Tom Telesco confirmed that Ryan Mathews remains "our bell cow."

Ryan Mathews RB SD 7 Months

The Chargers ranked 28th in the NFL in goal-line efficiency in 2013.

A lot of those flubbed goal-line chances came early in the year as the Chargers rolled with Danny Woodhead/Le'Ron McClain in the red zone. But as the season moved along, the coaching staff found more and more trust in Ryan Mathews. Over the final eight games, Mathews ran for five touchdowns -- including three plunges from the 1-yard line. He'll be the clear-cut goal-line back in 2014, the final year of his rookie contract.

Ryan Mathews RB SD 7 Months

The Union-Tribune San Diego reports the ankle issue that hampered Ryan Mathews during the playoffs was a high-ankle sprain.

Mathews first injured his ankle in Week 16 against the Raiders. A high-ankle sprain typically carries a 4-6 week recovery timetable. Mathews didn't miss a single game but was mostly a non-factor in the Chargers' two playoff games -- carrying the ball just 18 times -- after rushing for 144 yards in Week 17. His availability for the offseason won't be affected.

Ryan Mathews RB SD 7 Months

Ryan Mathews is active for Sunday night's Divisional Round game at Denver.

Mathews went through a full pre-game warmup and will play, though his in-game role remains to be seen after getting in zero practice reps during the week. The Chargers' Week 19 inactives are OG Jeromey Clary, DT Sean Lissemore, S Brandon Taylor, WR Lavelle Hawkins, CB Marcus Cromartie, OT Kenny Wiggins, and QB Brad Sorensen.

Ryan Mathews RB SD 7 Months

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports the Chargers expect Ryan Mathews (ankle) to play Sunday against the Broncos.

The last update we had on Mathews from Friday wasn't a glowing one. ESPN Chargers blogger Eric Williams reported Mathews was in a brace and was walking around "gingerly." His ankle injury is believed to have "gotten worse." Mathews didn't practice at all during the week and may be in for very limited snaps. He'll likely be a game-time decision for the 4:40 PM ET kickoff. Ronnie Brown and Danny Woodhead will handle backfield duties if Mathews can't play his normal snaps.

Ryan Mathews RB SD 7 Months

Ryan Mathews (questionable, ankle) was spotted in a brace during Friday's practice, and walking around "gingerly."

ESPN Chargers reporter Eric D. Williams believes Mathews' inability to practice this week means his left ankle "has gotten worse," and Mathews "does not know" if he'll be cleared for Sunday at Denver. "I'm not making predictions because I don't know where it stands honestly right now," chimed in Philip Rivers. "Danny [Woodhead] and Ronnie [Brown] are ready if they're needed more than usual."

Ryan Mathews RB SD 7 Months

Asked Friday whether Ryan Mathews (questionable, ankle) will play in Sunday's Divisional Round game at Denver, a Chargers team source replied "That's the plan."

We don't doubt Mathews will be active for the contest, but whether he's a big part of the Week 19 game plan after getting in zero practice reps is the quandary fantasy playoff leaguers must try to decipher. Our guess is Mathews will be more of a complementary, limited piece Sunday with Danny Woodhead playing more snaps, and Ronnie Brown also mixing in fairly regularly.

Ryan Mathews RB SD 7 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 7 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.