Raiders face injury questions
AP Sports Writer
ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Oakland Raiders head into preparations for Sunday’s game against San Diego with uncertainty at four key offensive positions.
Quarterback Terrelle Pryor is still recovering from a concussion that kept him out of Sunday’s loss to the Washington Redskins.
Running back Darren McFadden, fullback Marcel Reece and center Stefen Wisniewski are also nursing injuries from the game and coach Dennis Allen said Monday it was too soon to determine their status for this week.
Allen did get one question answered already. The game time has been moved from 1:25 p.m. PDT to 8:35 p.m. to give enough time to convert the Oakland Coliseum from baseball to football after the Athletics host a playoff game on Saturday night.
The NFL and Raiders had been hoping to keep the original start time but that proved impossible when baseball set the start time for the baseball game at 6:07 p.m. PDT on Saturday. With about 18 hours needed to convert the Coliseum from baseball to football, the game time needed to be switched.
Pryor had been set to start Sunday despite being knocked out last Monday in Denver with a concussion. But the Raiders (1-3) changed plans Saturday night after Pryor asked to wear a tinted visor because of sensitivity to light. That is a symptom from concussions and led to the decision to keep Pryor out of the game.
“We wanted to make sure that we exercised extreme caution in this situation,” Allen said. “We probably went a little bit above and beyond what typical protocol would be. We just deemed that it wasn’t worth the risk.”
The other three key offensive players all got hurt during Sunday’s game. McFadden (hamstring) and Reece (knee) both left in the first half and didn’t return, while Wisniewski played the entire game despite having a sprained knee.
Reece underwent an MRI on Monday, while McFadden and Wisniewski did not need further tests. Allen said he does not expect McFadden to miss much time, if any, and that Reece does not need surgery on his knee but offered few other details.
“We’re one day out, so I really don’t know,” he said.
The Raiders offense struggled without Pryor, McFadden and Reece, failing to score after the first quarter in a 24-14 loss to the Redskins.
Rashad Jennings took over much of the running load and gained 45 yards on 15 carries while catching eight passes for 71 yards in his most extensive action this season. He’s ready for more of the same this week if necessary.
“You always approach it the same way,” he said. “If you have the right mentality nothing really changes. You prepare that you’re carrying the load always. We hope he’s healthy. He’s a big part of this team. Whatever role I’m asked to take on I’ll be ready for it.”
The drop-off at quarterback was much bigger as Matt Flynn struggled mightily in his first start with the Raiders. He threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown and was sacked seven times as he repeatedly held onto the ball too long. That contributed to Oakland blowing a 14-point lead and drew criticism from Allen, who said after the game that Flynn did not see the field well.
Before even answering a question at his Monday news conference, Allen made a point of saying that Flynn is not solely to blame for the loss.
“I want to make one thing perfectly clear. This game of football is not about one person,” Allen said. “‘It’s about 11 guys on each side of the ball. It’s about offense, it’s about defense, it’s about special teams. At no point was this ever made about one guy, all right. I want to make sure that that’s perfectly clear.”
NOTES: The game will be broadcast nationally on NFL Network and on over-the-air stations in the local markets. … WR Andre Holmes returned to the team after serving a four-game suspension for violating NFL rules on performance-enhancing substances. The Raiders have a one-week exemption before needing to make a move to add Holmes to the 53-man roster. He can practice this week and could play Sunday if activated by 1 p.m. PDT Saturday. … OL Menelik Watson is expected back at practice Wednesday after minor knee surgery at the end of the exhibition season.
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