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Chargers Weigh Options with Mathews Out for Season

Posted Dec 17, 2012

The Chargers running back situation went from bad to worse when Ryan Mathews suffered his second broken clavicle of the season.  The unit has struggled for much of the year for a variety of reasons, and losing the team’s number one running back for the remainder of the year was another in a line of serious blows.

“It’s crazy to me to be around one guy who had one (hurt) clavicle, much less two,” said head coach Norv Turner. “And obviously the way he fell and landed going sideways was very similar to the way he fell (when he first broke his clavicle). I don’t know how to describe it in terms of what you call tough luck or circumstances, but hopefully he can put them behind him because he is a tough player. “

On Monday, Turner addressed how the team planned to move forward without Mathews.

“Well, we’ve got a chance to get Ronnie Brown back” he said. “Jackie (Battle) will get a chance to play. And Brink (Curtis Brinkley) played some yesterday, though I don’t know that he would play on third down.  And we’ll probably add Edwin Baker to the 53-man roster.  I don’t know that he would be active, but we’d have to see where Ronnie Brown is.”

Brown missed his second game of the season on Sunday as a hamstring injury prevented him from playing against the Carolina Panthers. The eight-year veteran has performed well for the Bolts as a third-down back, rushing 36 times for 169 yards and a 4.7 yards-per-carry average.  He’s also second on the team with 46 receptions for 360 yards out of the backfield.

Battle, meanwhile, had success early in the season when he was a primary ball carrier.  He’s recorded 225 yards on 57 carries along with a team-high three rushing touchdowns.  Battle is the most physical of the Chargers running backs and has a north-south running style.

Brinkley returned to the Chargers last week after being released to sign Micheal Spurlock.  In his fourth year with the team, he’s run for 102 yards on 35 carries.  On Sunday, he led the team with 42 yards on the ground on just six carries, good enough for a 7.0 yards-per-carry average.

Finally, Baker was the team’s seventh-round draft choice out of Michigan State, where he amassed 2,293 yards and 19 touchdowns over his collegiate career.  The 5-foot-8, 200-pound running back led the Chargers in the preseason in both carries (22) and yards (59). He has been on the team’s practice squad the entire season.

How the running back situation shakes out is still very much in the air.  However, the Chargers have a week to figure out which players best fit into their game plan before they travel to New York to take on the Jets.  Be sure to stay tuned to Chargers.com all week for updates on the Bolts running back corps.

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