The Oakland Raiders revamped defense took a hit Wednesday when it discovered that left cornerback Charles Woodson will miss up to six weeks with a fractured shoulder.
Woodson continued to play in Sunday night's 30-17 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field despite sustaining the injury. Woodson's MRI test revealed the fracture. Woodson is one of only two starters, along with defensive end Tony Bryant that finished last season.
The injury took place midway through the second quarter when Woodson was called for a pass interference penalty while covering Pittsburgh wide receiver Plaxico Burress. Woodson is expected to miss from 4-6 weeks. The Raiders (2-0) have a bye week before returning to play Tennessee at home on September 29. Based on that prognosis, the earliest return would come for Oakland's matchup at home against San Diego on October 20. The latest would come on November 3, when the Raiders host San Francisco.
"He will be missed," Raiders head coach Bill Callahan said. "It's a blow, because he's a four-time Pro Bowl player. When you have a quality corner of Charles' caliber, who's played at an all-star level, that's hard to replace. It's something we have to overcome."
Callahan added that he was not aware of Woodson's injury until late in the game. Woodson's injury is the only thing that has gone against Oakland in the first two regular season games. Woodson, who attended a team meeting Wednesday but was not available for comment, had 11 tackles and one interception in those two contests.
Terrence Shaw or Phillip Buchanon will start in Woodson's place opposite starting right cornerback Tory James. Shaw is a free agent acquisition from the New England Patriots while Buchanon is a first-round pick from Miami. Shaw, an eighth year veteran, had been the team's dime corner. Shaw is grateful for the opportunity but does not take the approach of "one man's adversity is another man's opportunity."
"I don't look at it like that at all," Shaw said. "The fact is that we lost one of our best players."Added James: "We've just got to do it. Everyone has to pick up their game. We just have to focus on what we have to do. He's a leader who makes plays and everyone feeds off of that."