By Jerry McDonald and Steve Corkran
NAPA — Raiders running back Mike Goodson was taken from the field by ambulance Tuesday following a hit delivered by linebacker Philip Wheeler.
“Mike Goodson had a neck injury; we’re not sure of the extent of it right now,” coach Dennis Allen said after practice. “He did have feeling in his extremities, which is good news. We’ll monitor that throughout the night.”
Goodson caught a short pass during an individual drill inside the 20-yard line, turned up field and was met by a crunching blow by Wheeler. The force of the hit knocked out Goodson’s mouth piece.
The running back was immediately tended to by Raiders trainer Rod Martin and the athletic training staff. His face mask was removed, and teammates Denarius Moore and Taiwan Jones knelt down beside him as he was treated.
Wheeler said he didn’t think Goodson was hurt that bad initially.
“I thought he was going to get up,” Wheeler said. “He’s not a big dude. He’s kind of light. I just felt like as soon as I hit him, he fell, he was on the ground, and I didn’t think he was that bad off until he said something. He said something. I forgot what he said, that he couldn’t get up. That’s when I knew he was pretty bad.”
Wheeler and Allen said they intend to visit Goodson in the hospital. Wheeler said he sent Goodson a text, apologizing for the hit and letting him know that he is prayin for him, too.
General manager Reggie McKenzie came to the scene of the injury as practice carried on as usual down the field. Napa Valley Fire Department members arrived first, and an ambulance was driven on to the field once a tarp was cut free covering an entry gate at Redwood Middle School.
Medical personnel strapped Goodson to a board, his helmet still secure, and he was placed into the ambulance and taken to an undisclosed hospital. The procedure was normal and in accordance with potential injuries to the head and neck.
Quarterback Carson Palmer threw the ball to Goodson on the play in question. However, he said he did not see the end of the play because he was walking back to the huddle. He did hear the collision.
“I am just so disappointed for Mike because he had been doing so good in camp,” Palmer said right after practice. “He looked so explosive and so fast and everybody was getting excited for what he could do for our team. We’re all praying and hoping that it’s not serious.”
The hit by Wheeler was delivered with much more contact than the usual training camp hit, with players usually backing off after an initial hit rather than following through with full contact.
Goodson was enjoying an excellent training camp after arriving in a trade with the Carolina Panthers for offensive lineman Bruce Campbell.
With Jones out because of a hamstring injury, Goodson was getting more work than starter Darren McFadden, whom the Raiders are attempting to keep healthy for the regular season.