- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 24, 2010

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Chargers running back Ryan Mathews had his nose cauterized in an uncomfortable procedure he says should eliminate nosebleeds that have plagued him during his career.

“It feels like I have a cold right now because I’m so stuffed up,” Mathews said. “It wasn’t fun, but hopefully it works.”

Mathews missed practice but recovered in time to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before the San Diego Padres’ game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He’s expected to practice on Wednesday afternoon and will play on Friday night in an exhibition game at New Orleans.

The rookie has dealt with football-related bloody noses since high school. Dry heat adds to the problem, and a combination of an arid climate and full contact on Saturday night caused Mathews‘ nose to bleed during an exhibition game against the Dallas Cowboys.

He got hit hard near the goal line, driving his helmet back into his nose. Mathews‘ nose started bleeding, which sidelined him for most of a series late in the first half.

“I’ve been getting them on and off for a while,” Mathews said. “It’s not like the nose bleeds forever or anything, but it is an inconvenience. It normally happens when I get hit pretty good, but it can also just start due to dry weather. The team thought it was a good idea to shore it up.”

NOTES: OLB Shawne Merriman missed another practice and will not play on Friday. WR Craig Davis (hip), DL Ryon Bingham (back) and LT Nick Richmond (knee) also missed practice. RG Louis Vasquez (groin) and LB James Holt (hip) returned to practice after missing Monday’s session. … Training camp officially closed on Monday and the Chargers began following their regular-season routines on Tuesday. They pumped in crowd noise to prepare the players for their first road game, at the Superdome, and also barred the media for much of practice. … Coach Norv Turner said most starters will play well into the third quarter against the Saints. … P Cort Johnson was waived.