Raiders Get Back to Work, Good News

The Raiders returned to work and set their sights on the San Diego Chargers but not before getting a bit of good news. Center Jake Grove, who underwent surgery a week ago to repair damaged cartilege in his right knee, appears ahead of schedule with his rehab and could be back sooner than expected.

Grove strolled into the team's locker room Monday and showed no lingering effects from the injury or surgery. The second-year offensive lineman underwent the minor procedure on Oct. 3 and walked out of surgery when it was complete.

''It feels pretty good,'' Grove said. ''I've got it in my mind to play this week but that's probably not going to happen. Hopefully I can do it in two or three weeks.''

That would be right in line with the timetable first laid out by Oakland coach Norv Turner, who later amended his original estimates and said Grove could be out even longer.

Grove seemed to get injured during the third quarter of the Raiders' 19-13 win over Dallas on Oct. 2 but says team doctors now believe he was first hurt prior to the game against the Cowboys.

''I never had a lot of pain but I knew something was wrong,'' Grove said. ''They believe I hurt it a week or two earlier. There's two ways to look at it. I could have kept playing on it and been out for six months or I could I have had surgery and tried to get back. It's doing well.''

Meanwhile, the Raiders turned their attention to San Diego. Oakland is already three games Denver in the AFC West and can ill-afford to fall any further back if it is to retain any hope of making the playoffs.

''I think it's good for you just to be away from it a little bit,'' Turner said following practice Monday. ''We had a good practice today (and) zeroed in on two or three aspects of what we're trying to get done. We'll be into a game week on Wednesday.''

The Raiders do get the luxury of watching the Chargers on television tonight. San Diego hosts Pittsburgh on Monday Night Football, offering Oakland's coaching staff and players another look at their upcoming opponent.

''Having them in our division and knowing them and them knowing us ... is what we're setting our base plan (around),'' Turner said. ''They'll do some things differently for Pittsburgh, just like you do for every opponent. But watching this game will be good for our guys.''

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