McClain’s foot issue is arthritis


News, notes and observations Friday as the Raiders prepared for their Week 13 game in San Diego against the Chargers:

Rolando McClain is hobbling from a condition you wouldn’t expect from a 21-year-old rookie.

He has arthritis, according to coach Tom Cable, and has missed the last two days of practice. He was limping and favoring his left foot. Given that McClain has no previous history of arthritis, Cable said, they don’t know what to expect regarding his availability.

“He was better last night, but worse this morning, so it will be day-to-day and we’ll probably have to wait until Sunday morning,’’ Cable said.

Cable said he didn’t know whether McClain could be treated medically to enable him to play.

McClain, said Cable, is “a guy, I think, who has adapted well to the NFL and has made a lot of plays.’’

Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha noted McClain’s insistence on not being treated as a rookie as an impressive part of his development.

“He’s a guy that if there is something that the coaches might be hesitant on calling or a certain play because it puts him in a tough spot, he always tells them, “No, I can take care of it,’ ‘’ Asomugha said.

Asomugha recalled McClain giving up a touchdown to a running back earlier this season and coaches considering changing the defense to keep the rookie from being victimized.

“He’s like, `No, I got it. I’ll take care of it,’ ‘’ Asomugha said. `He shows the maturity of, `I’m not a frightened rookie, you know, I can make plays.’ ‘

If McClain can’t play, Ricky Brown will take his place. Brown played extensively in a 23-20 win over Kansas City when McClain left with a hip injury.

— Asomugha said he is more confident in his ability to plant and turn this week after giving up four catches for 57 yards last week and struggling against Miami.

“I am moving better this week and feeling better,’’ Asomugha said. “They said each week it is going to feel better.

— Wide receiver Chaz Schilens has practiced for three consecutive days, something that hasn’t happened since last season.

Schilens was mostly an offseason spectator after having as second foot surgery following the season and was watched closely during training camp before having knee surgery.

He has been slow to recover from both injuries, in part because of overcompensation issues.

“We’re getting more and more work each day, with no setbacks, so that’s a real positive,’’ Cable said. “That one, you definitely have to take day-to-day.”

Interesting to note that when asked later if Darrius Heyward-Bey would start, Cable said, “I don’t know that. We’ll get to all that as we know the health here.’’

Heyward-Bey is not presently on the injury report, nor is any other wide receiver on the roster _ except Schilens.

Hard to believe Schilens could be looked at as a starter after being out all this time.

— Defensive tackle Richard Seymour (knee) was limited and listed as questionable, as was tight end Zach Miller (leg contusion, plantar fasciatis). Both are expected to play. Strong safety Tyvon Branch (shoulder) was limited and questionable, but is no lock. Mike Mitchell would start at strong safety if Branch can’t play.

Cornerback Chris Johnson (groin) did not practice all week, is listed as doubtful, but almost certainly won’t play.

—Cornerback Walter McFadden has been well-schooled in the “short memory’’ concept of his position from teammates such as Nnamdi Asomugha, Stanford Routt and Chris Johnson, coaches Willie Brown, Lionel Washington and Kevin Ross, and his brother Bryant of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

McFadden’s memory is short he said, “I had a lot more good plays than bad plays. I took a chance and that’s the life of being a DB.’’

The assumption is McFadden is talking about a 57-yard touchdown pass from Chad Henne to Marlin Moore in which he anticipated where the ball would end up and wound up short of his goal.

Moore caught the pass and turned up the sideline for the touchdown to put Miami up 20-14. He gave up five other completions and was called for defensive holding.

McFadden, who played very well early in training camp, was slowed by a hamstring tear and played only occasionally. He was inactive against Pittsburgh but elevated to nickel back because of Johnson’s groin injury and a shaky performance the previous week by fellow rookie Jeremy Ware.

“I’m not going to lie, I was very excited. I really wanted to get out there and show the Raider Nation what I can really do,’’ McFadden said. “But I kind of jumped out too far ahead, but there are no excuses for me, I’ll be ready when the time comes.’’

— If all goes according to plan, J.T. O’Sullivan won’t play a snap for the Raiders this season, with Jason Campbell finishing out the season and backup having been with the offense since last offseason.

O’Sullivan, however, plans on being ready for the unlikely event he plays in a game. O’Sullivan had spent time with 11 different teams, taking actual snaps with only three of them.

On Monday, O’Sullivan worked out for the Detroit Lions. By Wednesday, he was a Raider.

“It happened fast. Now that I’ve been here, I’m just trying to immerse myself in the system and be around the coaches and the quarterbacks as much as I can, try to figure out what direction they’re going with and get in there and do my job,’’ O’Sullivan said.

As for his knowledge of the Chargers, where he had a cup of coffee earlier this year, O’Sullivan isn’t sure he can impart much more knowledge than the Raiders already have.

“Those guys are pretty good over there,’’ O’Sullivan said. “We’ll go out there and try to play well and see what happens.’’


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer