San Diego, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews sat out a third consecutive practice on Friday, placing the team's leading rusher's status up in the air for this weekend's AFC Divisional Playoff against the Denver Broncos.
Mathews exited the Chargers' 27-10 victory at Cincinnati in last Sunday's Wild Card Round in the second half after aggravating a previous ankle sprain. The team has listed the four-year pro questionable on Friday's final injury report.
The San Diego Union-Tribune, citing a club source, reported Friday that San Diego plans on having Mathews, who rushed for a career-best 1,255 yards during the regular season, available for its clash with the top-seeded Broncos.
Mathews played a big role in the sixth-seeded Chargers' 27-20 upset of Denver at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Dec. 12, a result that helped San Diego claim the conference's final wild card berth. The 2010 first-round pick rushed for 127 yards and a touchdown while tying a season high with 29 carries in that game.
Starting center Nick Hardwick, who sustained a concussion against the Bengals, was also declared questionable, but returned to practice Friday and has been medically cleared by team doctors per the Union-Tribune.
Wide receiver Eddie Royal (toe) and offensive linemen Jeromey Clary (shoulder) and D.J. Fluker (ankle) are questionable as well for San Diego. Clary, the Chargers' regular right guard, is the most uncertain of the three to suit up after missing a second consecutive practice on Friday.
The Broncos come into Sunday's showdown relatively healthy off their opening- round bye, with defensive end Derek Wolfe the only Denver player expected to miss the game. Wolfe has not played since Week 12 after suffering seizure-like symptoms in late November.