Raiders hoping Moss can play?

The Raiders continue to cross their fingers in hopes that Randy Moss can play Sunday against Buffalo. While the odds are against it, Oakland received an encouraging sign when Moss returned to practice Thursday, albeit in a limited fashion.

Moss, who suffered a bruised pelvis, bruised ribs and a groin strain while going up for a pass in the first quarter during the Raiders' 27-14 loss to San Diego last week, did not take part in team drills and was limited to light jogging.

That's still a long distance from where he needs to be in order to play against Buffalo, but Oakland head coach Norv Turner refused to declare Moss out. On Thursday's injury report, Moss remained listed as doubtful.

''He ran a little bit today,'' Turner said. ''It was a little bit better. We'll see where he is tomorrow. He didn't do anything yesterday so he's a little better. If Randy's not ready, he's not going to play. We're preparing to play the game either way.''

The Raiders don't have to make a decision on Moss' status until just before kickoff.

In Moss' absence, Doug Gabriel took reps with Oakland's first-team offense and paired with Jerry Porter as the Raiders' starting wide receivers.

Center Jake Grove also made progress Thursday after sitting out the previous day's workout, though he remains listed as doubtful to play against Buffalo.

''He took a few reps in each drill,'' Turner said. ''he felt pretty good after yesterday's drill. He did a little bit more (Thursday).''

NOTES

* Earlier this week Buffalo's Willis McGahee said that he is the best running back in the NFL. ''Case closed,'' said McGahee, whose 604 yards ranks fourth overall in the league. ''I've always thought I was the best back, from jump street.''

McGahee also said that he wasn't worried about what Oakland is going to do defensively and instead said the Raiders ''better worry about what I'm going to do.''

On Thursday, several Raiders players laughed when told of McGahee's comments and said they welcomed the challenge.

''Who wouldn't feel good about himself with 600 yards?'' defensive end Bobby Hamilton said. ''I like a guy who has confidence like that. At the same time that should put a chip on our shoulder. 'Did you hear what that back is saying?' We've got to show him what we're all about. He might be the best but not on us.''

* Former Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon will serve as color analyst for CBS during Sunday's telecast. It will be the first time this season that Gannon, who retired in the offseason, will cover his former team. ''That's going to be good to see Rich,'' Turner said.

* The game failed to sell out by the allotted time Thursday and will be blacked out locally in the Bay Area. It is the 56th time in 84 home games the Raiders have failed to sell out a home game since relocating to Oakland prior to the 1995 season.

* Defensive end DeLawrence Grant also remains doubtful an ankle injury. He did not practice either Wednesday or Thursday.


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