Ryan Mathews: I feel right where I left off

AP

The expectation is that Chargers running back Ryan Mathews will make his 2012 debut against the Falcons this weekend.

The Chargers haven’t confirmed that yet, but there’s nothing left for Mathews to do on the practice field after he’s made it through contact unscathed. It’s time for him to start playing in games and helping the San Diego offense, something that the running back confirmed in comments after another full practice on Thursday. It’s been six weeks since he broke his clavicle and Mathews said that he feels like he’s back to where he was before the injury.

“I’ve been keeping in shape and keeping on my stuff so that when it was time to go, I wouldn’t be behind,” Mathews said via Michael Gehlken of the San Diego Union-Tribune. “I feel right where I left off. Just still getting the plays and just getting the speed down still, but it’s slowed down. It’s really like I never left, but you still have to get the timing down.”

The only way to check off those final boxes will be to play in actual games because there’s no way to simulate that experience on the practice field. Atlanta, which has allowed 270 rushing yards in the first two weeks, should provide a good transition back to action for Mathews.