Chargers running back Ryan Mathews took a step toward game action on Monday when he returned to practice.
Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Mathews did individual drills during Monday’s workout that was open to the media. It’s a great sign of progress for Mathews’ overall health, but it’s not clear how much it helps his chances of playing in the opener against the Raiders.
Mathews, who reported no pain from the injury, said that he’s “very hopeful” of playing in that game, but his return to practice does not include a return to contact. That’s obviously a necessary step toward Mathews playing in a game and there’s no word right now on when such clearance might be coming his way.
Mathews broke his clavicle on his first preseason carry Aug. 9 and had surgery to repair the injury that was predicted to have a four-to-six week recovery time. The Chargers get an extra day thanks to the opener falling on Monday night and we’d expect them to take almost all that time to decide the best course of action for Mathews. Whatever they decide for Week One, Monday’s news was promising for Mathews’ overall availability in the early part of the season.