Raiders get a scare on offensive line

Right tackle proved to be a sore spot for the Raiders during Tuesday's training camp workouts. First, starter Lincoln Kennedy went down in a heap with a right knee injury after a massive collision of flesh with teammate Mo Collins. Then on the very next play backup Darryl Ashmore injured his left knee on a similiar play.

Kennedy was expected to return to practice Wednesday while Oakland was still awaiting word on Ashmore's condition. But the two incidents did convinced head coach Bill Callahan to scale back the Raiders' workouts in the morning.

''Every now and then you're going to get that injury bug,'' said Callahan. ''We got it on two plays back to back. It's a weird thing. Injuries are a part of football. That's practice and that's training camp.''

Callahan's laissez-faire attitude belied a more serious concern Raiders officials had just moments earlier. Last year the offensive line could have held its positional meetings in an emergency room, such were the litany of injuries. Seeing Kennedy collapse to the turf followed shortly thereafter by Ashmore dredged up plenty of bad memories. Luckily the Raiders appear to have escaped any serious damage.

Kennedy, the two-time Pro Bowl right tackle, was hurt during a 9-on-7 drill during the morning practice while trying to avoid colliding with a teammate on the ground. That's when he ran into Collins, the starting right guard. Kennedy once again tried to manuever out of harm's way but as he did his right leg planted straight into the turf and didnt' give way, even as Kennedy's body continued in motion.

Team trainers immediately rushed to Kennedy and later helped him to the sidelines. Kennedy was later taken to the locker room for further diagnosis which proved to be negative.

Though he wore a tight white wrap around his knee as he gingerly walked away from the team's locker rooms, Kennedy was in good spirits and munching on an apple as he spoke with reporters.

''An apple a day keeps the doctor away, you guys remember that OK? I showed 'em my apple and they left me alone,'' Kennedy joked. ''I'm fine, really. It was just a little hyperextension. As much as I remember, I saw somebody going down to the ground. They were so close in proximity to me that I was trying to just get out of the way. When I tried to move out of the way the last part of whoever it was hit me, it was like barely tapped, and it (my leg) came down real straight.''

Kennedy admitted he was initially concerned about the severity of his knee injury. But after consulting with team physicians and trainers, the diagnosis of hyperextension was made. Kennedy said he also plans to rejoin practice Wednesday and intends to play in the Raiders preseason opener Friday against Dallas.

''I don't like to miss time, even if it's just five plays,'' Kennedy said. ''I could easily sit out (against the Cowboys) but that's not me.''

Just as trainers were attending to Kennedy 10 yards away from practice, Ashmore went down and also had to be helped off the practice field. He, too, was able to walk away from the locker rooms on his own power but Ashmore was scheduled to have a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan performed later in the day. Results were not immediately available.

''I twisted the wrong way on a block, went down and felt some burning,'' said Ashmore. ''I was just blocking, there was some burning sensation and then it popped.''

Fortunately for Oakland the offensive line is one place where they have depth in abundance. Former first-round draft pick Matt Stinchcomb and newcomers Brad Badger and Tom Ackerman, not to mention second-round draft pick Langston Walker, are all available.

''When you play the game of football there's a chance of somebody getting hurt,'' said offensive line coach Aaron Kromer. ''When you're practicing the same chance comes up. It's happened before, guys get hurt on back to back plays, and it will happen again, some day, somewhere. All you can do is adjust and move on.

''It's definitely the reason why Mr. Davis and the Oakland Raiders always have depth at the offense and defense lines, for these type of situations.''

CAMP NOTES

Third-string quarterback Rick Mirer is still struggling to find any kind of a rhythm in practice. Mirer's passes are more quiver than spiral and the veteran quarterback frequently overthrows receivers. During Tuesday morning's practice he was late on making reads and poorly missed a throw that landed 15 yards away from the nearest receiver. In Mirer's defense, though, he did come back to make a nice throw down the middle to wide receiver Elijah Thurman ... Matthew Hatchette is buried pretty deep on the receiving depth chart but he turned some heads Tuesday when he made a leaping catch on the sidelines over reserve cornerback Clarence Love ... Safety Ray Perryman might be a longshot to make Oakland's 53-man roster but the second-year pro is having an infinitely better camp thus far than he did last year as a rookie. The Raiders fifth-round pick last year, Perryman has been taking advantage of the wide-open situation Oakland has at the safety position. He's also been one of the most vocal players in practice. After the offense had moved down near the goal line during a two-minute drill, Perryman called the defense into a huddle and loudly exhorted them to make a stop. ''Let's go ya'll, let's get off the field like we did yesterday.'' The motivation apparently worked, as linebacker Eric Johnson swatted away Mirer's pass on the next play, ending the drill.


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