By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Saturday, August 14th, 2010 at 7:53 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Middle linebacker Rolando McClain missed practice to attend to a personal matter, but coach Tom Cable said he didn’t expect the Raiders’ first-round draft pick to be gone long.
Teammates Thomas Howard and Quentin Groves both offered support for McClain earlier in the day on their Twitter account in terms of prayers for the rookie and his family.
Cable would only say, “He has a personal issue that he has been excused to handle. He’ll be back quick.’’
While no one would say it for the record, the reason for McClain’s absence was a serious illness in his family.
McClain played the first three series against Dallas, exited the game and then came back briefly. He had one tackle and one assist, making no big hits but no obvious mistakes, either.
“I think he did fine,’’ Cable said. “He ran the defense like you want him to. He ran to the ball, was in on a number of plays, so I think you could say it was a success, first time out.’’
More news, notes and quotes from Saturday’s lone practice:
– Quarterback Charlie Frye has a sore right hand that hasn’t responded to treatment and will see a specialist this week to determine what is wrong.
It’s not the first time. Frye missed three games for the Cleveland Browns after injuring his right wrist in Dec. 3, 2006. He returned that year to play in the season finale.
Frye hasn’t practiced since Aug. 5. He has already undergone an MRI which didn’t reveal anything.
“They only show so much because the things in there are so small,’’ Frye said. “That’s probably the hardest part, not knowing. That just tears you up.’’
Cable’s assessment sounded ominous.
“We’re going to have some work done here in the next couple of days to see if we can get kind of some decisions made on what we’ve got to do there,’’ Cable said.
Quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, meanwhile, was recovered enough from a groin strain to get in some work in drills and in team sessions (the Raiders were in shorts or shells) but wasn’t pushing it in terms of mobility.
“We turned him loose throwing the ball and all that today and we’ll see how he feels in the morning and keep adding to it,’’ Cable said.
– Running back Darren McFadden did not practice and hasn’t been on the field since Aug. 7, the day Cable said, “there’s no injury or anything. We just don’t want to mess with it.’’
McFadden was working with Luke Lawton and Jacoby Ford near the field house with a member of the athletic training staff, going through drills. McFadden said he’s not quite ready to turn loose the uninjured hamstring.
If the Raiders play it safe, McFadden could conceivably miss Saturday’s game in Chicago against the Bears.
The dilemma? You never really know a hamstring is healed until you turn it loose _ and the easiest way to re-injure it is to turn it loose.
“Even if it is feeling strong, at the same time you don’t want to open up too much if you’re not ready all the way and go back to point one,’’ McFadden said.
– Ford, out since Aug. 5 with a quadriceps injury, said he’d be back at practice Sunday.
“My coach definitely told me, if you can’t go 100 percent, then don’t go at all. He’d rather have me for the season than to miss all of training camp, which would be bad. That’s very encouraging to have the coaches behind me and supporting me’’
Cable wouldn’t commit to Sunday for Ford, but said, “We’re very close,’’ and thought the rookie hadn’t fallen too far behind.
– With Tyvon Branch and Mike Mitchell both safeties who play physically and usually near the line of scrimmage, and Michael Huff having a void in his contract after this season, Cable has usually skirted the issue as to which player could play as a single deep safety.
On Saturday, that man was Mitchell.
I think the reason you saw him there today is we want to find that out,’’ Cable said. “He did some nice things (against Dallas), and are kind of pleased with what he did. But, there are about four or five plays out there that we cannot have and he’s got to be better.
“In the process of developing our team we kind of want to move him around a little bit and see if we can develop some of those things in the middle of the field.’’
– Veteran running back Rock Cartwright is hoping to stick as a reserve, but looks at the Raiders offense and thinks a lead back could do a lot of damage.
This offense allows a back to do a lot of different things. It allows him to go split out at wideout a lot, it allows him to take a lot of checkdowns and screens.
“If a back is able to stay healthy for a full season in this offense I’m sure they can put up close to 2,000 all-purpose yards.’’
– The Raiders have a single practice Sunday at 3:30 p.m. and two sessions Monday at 8:30 a.m. and 4:20 p.m.Rookie middle linebacker Rolando McClain wasn’t present at practice Saturday attending.
– Place kicker Sebastian Janikowski was not at practice. Cable said Janikowski was “with his family and it’s not a big dea. He’ll be back tomorrow.”
Practice highlights can be found on my Twitter page.