By Steve Corkran
Monday, December 5th, 2011 at 6:04 pm in Oakland Raiders.
As preposterous as it might sound, Raiders coach Hue Jackson can’t say for sure whether running back Darren McFadden will be back before the regular season ends.
Of course, Jackson is confident that McFadden will be back at some point. Problem is, more than six weeks after McFadden suffered a mid-foot sprain Oct. 23, Jackson isn’t any closer to offering forth a timetable for McFadden’s return than he was when the injury occurred.
“I don’t think so,” Jackson said Monday, when asked if McFadden is out for the rest of the regular season. “I think he’ll be back, I really do. When that is, I don’t have an answer.”
Jackson said he is just as antsy to get back McFadden as fans are to see McFadden play again.
“There’s been urgency for weeks to get all of our players back as fast as we can,” Jackson said. “I’m not a doctor. I’m the coach. So, when they tell me I can have these guys back is when I’ll get them. Do I want him back? I wanted him four weeks ago. ”
An MRI performed soon after McFadden suffered his injury showed that there isn’t any structural damage. ESPN injury analyst Stephania Bell said that points to McFadden having a Grade 1, the least severe of the three levels of severity.
Based on that, the healing time typically ranges from one week to a month. Keep in mind, though, that’s for someone who doesn’t make his living planting his foot, making sharp cuts and running into players in excess of 300 pounds.
The decision to let middle linebacker Rolando McClain play against the Dolphins was a close call, Jackson admitted.
He arrived at the decision after hearing McClain’s account of his arrest last Thursday, a “fact-finding” mission and consulting with a number of people, including the players who make up a council on the Raiders.
Jackson was arrested for allegedly punching a childhood friend, holding a gun to his head and firing the gun next to the 23-year-old’s head.
Jackson stopped short of saying McClain is innocent of all the charges levied against him. However, he is confident that McClain isn’t guilty of all that he is accused of, four misdemeanors, to be exact.
“I’m comfortable in my mind that the charges that people are saying and the things that they’re saying that he did, I don’t think that he did that,” Jackson said. “If I find out differently, if I’ve been led down the other brick road, then I will adjust accordingly.
“Right now, as I said before, at some point I got to take a stand, and I’m taking a stand behind my player and this football team and organization. So that’s where I am.”
Jackson said he doesn’t think McClain’s acions warrant a suspension by the league.
Just the same, were that to happen, then McClain is going to feel Jackson’s wrath “because that would mean that someone’s not being truthful,” Jackson said. “And that’s the one thing I will not deal with.”
Jackson, obviously, doesn’t feel as if it’s going to reach that point based “from what I know.”
“At the end of the day, when I look at it all, maybe, in my opinion, when this thing all comes out, we’ll all feel different about it,” Jackson said.
When asked Monday if he had anything to say, McClain said “not at all” as he walked away from his locker and out of the locker room. He returned a short time later and spent most of the media-access period in the locker room.
MCCLAIN SITUATION A DISTRACTION?
It’s easy for people to point to McClain’s arrest last week as a reason for why the Raiders lost to the Dolphins. Jackson isn’t in that camp.
“I don’t think so,” Jackson said. “We were playing for a lot. Everybody said, ‘Was that a distraction?’ I don’t think so. I really don’t.
“The biggest distraction we had was the Miami Dolphins. They played better than we did yesterday. What we need to do is get back to playing ball, but I don’t truly believe in my heart without any hesitation that that was a distraction to this football team, at all.”
PLAYERS WORKED OUT
Jackson said the two players worked out, believed to be linebackers, has nothing to do with the possibility of McClain being suspended by the league for his arrest last week.
Defensive tackle Richard Seymour was ejected for punching Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito on Sunday. It marked the third straight season in which he has been ejected from a game.
Jackson said he didn’t feel as if Seymour’s actions warranted an ejection.
“When I seen it, and as I see it on video tape, no I don’t,” Jackson said. “But they threw him out. At the end of the day, that’s the call that the official made. We’ll turn it in and see what the ruling is.”
Jackson felt as if Seymour and Incognito were just going at it, the way linemen do, and an official misinterpreted Seymour’s left hand connecting with Incognito’s jaw.
“He was really working his hands and trying to get away,” Jackson said, “and sometimes when you’re using your hands your hand might slip, might fall, glancing blow off something. Do I think he intentionally was trying to hit someone in the face? I don’t but I can understand the official’s point of view if that’s what he saw.”
Seymour apologized for his actions after the game.
REECE WAS IN GAME PLAN
Fullback Marcel Reece went from a primary target one week to missing in action against the Dolphins.
Reece rushed one time for 10 yards and caught one pass for 38 yards, both in the fourth quarter and long after the outcome had been decided.
Jackson said Reece was part of the game plan, but the Dolphins countered everything the Raiders showed with Reece.
“We tried to get him involved early,” Jackson said. “We shifted him out there, and they played one way. We shifted him out there again, and they played another way. Obviously, they wanted to take him out of the game.
“And then we moved him back in the backfield and, all of a sudden, you look up and the game’s changed, so you have to do other things. We would like to have Marcel Reece on the field every play if we could but sometimes games dictate otherwise and sometimes there’s things you need to do. But, no, we were not trying to not showcase Marcel. Sometimes, people are going to do everything they can to take him away.”
Wide receiver Chaz Schilens (foot), tight end Kevin Boss (hip) and defensive tackle John Henderson (knee) suffered injuries against the Dolphins that were serious enough to knock them from the game.
Jackson made it sound as if none of the injuries is very serious.
“Chaz will probably be day to day as we move forward,” Jackson said. “He’ll be OK. Boss will be OK as we continue to move forward. … We’re just checking (Henderson) to make sure where he is. Again, he’ll probably be day to day, also. So, we came out of it not too bad. But, again, we have some guys that we do have to check to make sure they’re going to be OK for this week.”
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