By Steve Corkran
Friday, November 4th, 2011 at 11:17 am in Oakland Raiders.
Middle linebacker Rolando McClain is practicing today for the first time since he hurt his leg. He missed the past five practices. His return today signifies that he has a realistic shot at playing against the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
There’s little or no chance of running back Darren McFadden playing Sunday. He isn’t at practice once again, making it six straight since he suffered a mid-foot sprain against the Kansas City Chiefs on Oct. 23.
Michael Bush and Taiwan Jones are getting all the reps at running back in anticipating of their filling in for McFadden on Sunday. Bush is expected to make his first start of the season, with Jones getting his most extensive playing time of the year.
Cornerbacks Chris Johnson and Chimdi Chekwa aren’t practicing, either. Johnson likely will be ruled out later today. It’s also a long-shot for Chekwa to play. Hence, the signing of veteran Lito Sheppard.
Kicker Sebastian Janikowski is at practice. However, he has yet to attempt any field goals in almost three weeks. Coach Hue Jackson said he wants to see Janikowski test his injured left (kicking leg) hamstring before he commits to using him Sunday.
At one point, Janikowski donned a helmet and lined up as if he was going to kick off. Ultimately, he kicked the ball a short distance with his right foot. So, he remains a question mark until further notice.
The Raiders signed kicker Dave Rayner the day before the Chiefs game. So, it’s conceivable that they won’t make a decision on Janikowski until tomorrow at some point.
Wide receiver Louis Murphy is being used as a gunner on punt coverage now that Derek Hagan isn’t on the roster. Take that either as a sign of his versatility or a sign of his decreased importance in the offense.
Murphy appeared to tweak his groin early in practice. A trainer spent several minutes stretching out Murphy’s groin soon thereafter. He missed the first five games this season as a result of groin surgery during training camp.
The Raiders play the San Diego Chargers on Thursday night, Nov. 10, in the first of such games by NFL Network. One of the network’s reporters, Mike Mayock, is at practice today.
Naturally, the Raiders allowed Mayock far better access than they do for the media that cover the team on a daily basis. Guess the NFL doesn’t hold the employees of the network it owns to the same guidelines that it does other credentialed media.
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