By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Friday, September 26th, 2008 at 2:03 pm in Oakland Raiders.
The injury which has minimized the practice participation of cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha this week is a fracture of a small bone in the right elbow.
Coach Lane Kiffin never used the term when discussing the injury the past two days, but Asomugha did when talking about it on Friday.
“It’s real sore, real banged up. It happened in about the second quarter in Buffalo,” Asomugha said.
I asked him Asomugha if he’d struck it on a helmet.
“No, tackling. I got kicked,” Asomugha said. “That’s where the fracture came in.”
“Yeah, there’s a little bone in there. I don’t know what it’s called,” Asomugha said.
Asomugha will have a better idea of his availability after more treatment and rest.
“It’s going to depend on how it feels the next couple of days because I haven’t really done much of anything on it, so I may be able to have a brace on it and go like that,” Asomugha said. “Just having to depend on how it feels the next couple of days.”
Kiffin said Asomugha’s elbow lacked strength and that he was forced to abandon press coverage late in the Bills game.
Asomugha, the Raiders exclusive franchise free agent and best defensive player, said he may have to change up his game somewhat but noted his left arm remains at full strength.
“It’s his elbow, and what he doesn’t have is very much strength,” Kiffin said. “If it wasn’t contact, he’d be fine. But he does not have the strength right now that we’d like him to have or he’d like to have. That’s why it’s kind of hard to figure out if he’s going to be able to play.”
Asomugha is listed as questionable, along with running back Darren McFadden (toe) and Stanford Routt (ankle). Listed as doubtful were defensive tackle Gerard Warren (pectoral) and Cooper Carlisle.
Running back Justin Fargas (groin), tackle Seth Wand (knee) and tight end Ben Troupe (foot) were listed as out and will be inactive.
Kiffin said all would be game-time decisions, with Warren and Carlisle the two who are “the least ready to play.”
If both Asomugha and Routt were unavailable, Kiffin said free safety Michael Huff and reserve safety Rashad Baker could be drafted into action as cornerbacks and the Raiders would just “try and find a way through the game.”
McFadden will again have a pain-killing injection and start if he warms up well enough. If McFadden to discover either before or during the game he couldn’t go on, then fullback Justin Griffith would be the backup to Michael Bush at running back, with Luke Lawton moving in at fullback.
“We’ll push him and act as if he’s fine,” Kiffin said. “Once he starts showing he’s not 100 percent, we’ll pull back as a safety measure and go with Michael and make sure he doesn’t get knocked out in the game so he can come back (after the bye) with Fargas.”
Kiffin said he can’t recall a time in his 19 games as Raiders coach where he had to prepare for a game with so many injuries.
“I think we had eight guys at some point that weren’t practicing yesterday, either they were completely out or were limited in practice,” Kiffin said. “We haven’t had anything like this since I’ve been here. I don’t have an explanation for it. It’s unfortunate.
“Then I look over at a team that just played Monday night in San Diego and they were 100 percent participation, all 53 guys. Usually, after a Monday night game you have some guys that aren’t practicing. They’re really healthy and we’re banged up so we’re going to have to have some people step up and play.”
It was suggested to Kiffin that the bye couldn’t be coming at a better time.
“It could come at a better time,” Kiffin said. “It could come right now. That would be the best time for it.”
Newberry on the Raiders
It’s the plight of a team on a five-plus year of futility _ ex-players with stories to tell. The latest is Chargers center Jeremy Newberry, who wil be a backup for the first time in his career when Nick Hardwick reassumes the starting role in the Coliseum.
Newberry, without bitterness or rancor, gave a dead-on review of what a lot of players are thinking inside the locker room to the San Diego Union Tribune.
“The organization as far as the football field and the meeting rooms is good,” Newberry said. “As far as the offensive line went, it was a good group of guys. But the other stuff …
“It’s not fun to lose and it’s not fun to be in a losing environment. It’s refreshing to be down here and to have a clear-cut system where everyone knows who is in charge of this and who is in charge of that.
“In Oakland, there was always something . . . this guy was going to be fired because he wasn’t Al’s (Davis) guy, or this guy wasn’t going to be fired because he was Al’s guy. It was always something.”