Raiders receiver practices without pain
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) – Oakland Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey practiced without pain five days after injuring his neck and spine and suffering a concussion while being tackled by Minnesota linebacker E.J. Henderson.
Heyward-Bey, the Raiders’ leading receiver this season, ran patterns and caught passes from quarterback Carson Palmer during a light non-contact drill and took part in some team drills as well Friday. That was slightly more than he was able to do a day earlier when he worked out for the first time since the injury.
“I feel pretty good,” Heyward-Bey said. “They did a good job of taking care of me and making sure I was OK.”
Heyward-Bey moved around without limitations and showed no lingering effects from the scary hit in Sunday’s win over the Vikings.
Oakland’s third-year wide receiver caught a 4-yard pass from Palmer on a crossing route when he was initially hit by cornerback Cedric Griffin. After Griffin spun Heyward-Bey around as he was making the tackle, Henderson came in to help, but his left knee collided with the back of Heyward-Bey’s neck, knocking the Raiders player’s helmet off in the process.
Heyward-Bey lay on the turf for several anxious moments before being carted off the field with his body and head taped down to prevent movement. He was taken to a local hospital, but was released and joined his teammates for the flight back to Oakland.
After wearing a neck brace earlier this week and going through a battery of concussion tests, Heyward-Bey was cleared to practice this week.
“I was really pleased with his practice today,” Raiders coach Hue Jackson said. “He did some good things, made some plays and caught some balls. We’ll see where he is but he looked good today. That (concussion) part’s behind him. It’s just now the soreness of the body.”
That’s an encouraging sign for Oakland, which was down to two healthy receivers on its 53-man roster earlier in the week. Now Jackson’s team is almost back to full strength.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh also returned to the field after leaving town to be with his wife for the birth of their child. Jacoby Ford is making progress from his left foot injury and is no longer wearing a protective boot. Rookie Denarius Moore is also walking without the use of a protective boot.
Heyward-Bey and Moore are both questionable while Ford is out.
Jackson has some options if the Raiders are short on receivers for Sunday’s game against the Bears. Fullback Marcel Reece and rookie tight end David Ausberry both played wide receiver in college and could be used in a pinch.
One player who Jackson won’t use at receiver is Terrelle Pryor, the multi-talented athlete from Ohio State who has been the emergency quarterback every week since returning from his five-game NFL suspension.
“I wouldn’t do that to him,” Jackson said. “He’s a quarterback and that’s the position he plays. I wouldn’t put him in that situation.”
Defensive tackle Richard Seymour also practiced for the first time in two weeks, while defensive end Lamarr Houston worked out in full pads after sitting out Wednesday’s practice.