Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey is at practice today, though only as a spectator. He is wearing his No. 85 jersey and a baseball cap, while chatting with coaches and teammates.
Heyward-Bey, of course, suffered a concussion and neck strain against the Pittsburgh Steelers last Sunday, when he at the receiving end of a helmet-to-helmet hit by Steelers safety Ryan Mundy early in the fourth quarter.
Raiders coach Dennis Allen said Heyward-Bey still hasn’t passed the concussion-related tests mandated by the league. Heyward-Bey can’t play in a game or take part in contact at practice until he passes all the tests.
Therefore, there’s no way that Heyward-Bey will play Sunday against the Denver Broncos. For now, it appears as if Derek Hagan is going to get the starting nod opposite Denarius Moore.
Rookies Juron Criner and Rod Streater figure to get plenty of playing time, with no other receivers on the roster. It’s conceivable that the Raiders will sign Travionte Session or Tori Gurley from the practice squad.
However, the Raiders have had only four healthy wide receivers for each of their first three games, so that seems to be a long-shot.
– Right offensive tackle Khalif Barnes (groin) and cornerback Shawntae Spencer (foot) are not practicing today. That makes three straight missed practices this week.
So, you can expect Willie Smith to make his second straight start at right tackle and Michael Huff at left cornerback on Sunday.
– Many people seem worried about running back Darren McFadden appearing on the injury report with a bruised shoulder.
Coach Allen and McFadden aren’t among those worried about McFadden’s status for Sunday’s game, even though McFadden is listed as questionable.
McFadden finished the game against the Steelers with the injury, and he figures to hold up just fine against the Broncos.