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Doctor doubts Ryan Mathews' early return to Chargers

San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews underwent surgery Friday to repair the broken clavicle he sustained on his first carry of the 2012 preseason. Chargers coach Norv Turner expressed optimism that Mathews will be back by the Sept. 10 season opener against the Oakland Raiders, going so far as to say the team doesn't plan to add a running back.

Though he hasn't personally reviewed Mathews' medical records, Dr. Daniel Kharrazi, a Los Angeles-based orthopedic surgeon who has appeared on the NFL Network, expects Mathews to miss at least six weeks, which would keep the third-year pro out for the first few weeks of the regular season.

"Frankly, I don't think most people would release him before six weeks," Kharrazi told Michael Gehlkin of U-T San Diego. "The healing time is four to six weeks. So, especially in a professional athlete, I think you're going to take the extra step to make sure it's 100 percent healed because you don't want it to get hit on, and if it's not properly healed, he can reinjure the shoulder ...

"I think the earliest, earliest by far would be six weeks, if not a little bit longer than that."

Without Mathews, the Chargers are down to Ronnie Brown, Jackie Battle, Curtis Brinkley and rookies Edwin Baker and Michael Hayes at running back. That group had 23 carries for 62 yards and one touchdown in Thursday night's preseason victory over the Green Bay Packers.

If Mathews is out for six or more weeks, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Chargers jump into the mix for free agent Ryan Grant, whose path back to the Packers might be blocked by Cedric Benson.

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