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Ryan Mathews thinks he can play in Chargers' opener

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The San Diego Chargers were dealt a rough blow when Ryan  Mathews broke his clavicle on his first carry of the preseason, but the running back has taken a very optimistic approach to his recovery.

Mathews said Sunday he plans to be on the field when the Chargers open the regular season Sept. 10 against the Oakland Raiders.

"I heal pretty fast, so I think that'll give me time to play against the Raiders," Mathews said, according to U-T San Diego's Michael Gehlken.

Mathews was reportedly given a 4-to-6 week timetable for returning after suffering the injury, but the running back said the actual timeframe is 3-to-6 weeks. He downplayed the severity of the injury in keeping up with his necessary cardio.

"My legs aren't broken," he said.

Mathews is doing what professional athletes do: Attempting to push the recovery timetable to achieve a best-case scenario. It's up to the team and its medical professionals to temper optimism if need be. If Mathews played against the Raiders, it would be exactly a month and a day after the injury. That could leave him vulnerable to re-injury.

Meanwhile, Norv Turner must work with what's available. The coach said Sunday the team will move forward with a running-back rotation of Ronnie Brown, Le'Ron McClain and Curtis Brinkley.

Mathews need not worry about getting Wally Pipp'd.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @danhanzus.
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