Ryan Mathews’ optimism and desire won’t be enough get him on the field Sunday.
The rookie tailback, who suffered a high ankle sprain against Jacksonville this past Sunday, missed Thursday’s practice and is almost certain to be inactive against the Seattle Seahawks.
“Getting better,” said Mathews, who was walking without apparent hindrance but wearing a protective boot later. “It’s sore.”
Mathews ran on a treadmill Thursday and still held out hope, but indications are that Mike Tolbert, who replaced Mathews against the Jaguars and ran 16 times for 82 yards and two touchdowns, will start in Mathews’ place.
Mathews, who has 101 yards on 24 carries, worked hard in college to overcome an injury-prone label and clearly wants to play.
“There’s a difference between being injured and hurt,” he said. “I can play in pain.”
The Chargers would rather sacrifice the week to keep him healthy for the season, and Mathews does acknowledge that is probably the smarter course.