By Steve Corkran
Wednesday, September 21st, 2011 at 11:08 am in Oakland Raiders.
Wide receivers Jacoby Ford and Louis Murphy, as well as backup safety Mike Mitchell and starting right cornerback Chris Johnson, are not at practice today.
Murphy (groin/hamstring) and Mitchell (knee) missed Oakland’s first two games with injuries suffered during training camp. Both targeted Sunday’s game against the New York Jets for their 2011 regular-season debut.
That likely won’t happen unless they are able to practice Thursday and/or Friday.
Ford suffered a hamstring injury against the Denver Broncos in the regular-season opener, and he has not practiced in 10 days. Johnson likely aggravated the groin injury he suffered during training camp, though we won’t know for sure until the official injury report comes out later today.
On the bright side for the Raiders, tight end Kevin Boss, receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (knee) and backup offensive lineman Stephon Heyer and free safety Michael Huff are practicing.
Boss also has not played this season because of a knee injury he suffered against the 49ers on Aug. 20. He said late last week that he expected to play against the Bills. Coach Hue Jackson held out Boss as a precautionary measure.
Huff didn’t start against the Bills, but he played quite a bit. He has been battling a groin injury the past 10 days or so. Heyward-Bey missed the Bills game, and he still is sporting a prominent wrap on his left knee.
*Nick Miller and rookie Denarius Moore shared punt-return duties during practice. Miller has returned every punt for the Raiders this season.
Miller has yet to get untracked on punt or kick returns this season. He has averaged 9.5 yards on punt returns and 15.3 on kick returns.
If Ford can’t play Sunday, Miller, Moore, Taiwan Jones or Rock Cartwright will handle kick-return duties. Miller likely will remain on punt returns as long as he’s on the 53-man roster.
*There won’t be any official word on whether Oakland’s regular-season home-opener is sold out until Thursday afternoon. Teams have until 72 hours before kick-off to sell out the game for it to be televised locally.
Word has it that the Raiders are close to selling out the Jets and New England Patriots games. It remains to be seen whether that holds true.
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