Raiders could get a big boost with Warren

Gerard Warren is getting closer to getting back on the field for the Raiders.

Oakland's starting defensive tackle practiced Wednesday for the first time since the bye week, an encouraging sign for both Warren and the defense.

Gerard Warren, who missed nearly five weeks of practice after suffering a thigh injury on Oct. 4, took part in the entire workout and showed no lingering effects from the injury.

"He did everything," Raiders coach Lane Kiffin said. "Full participation and everything, and he looked good."

Oakland sorely needs the 6-foot-4, 325-pound veteran to return to a defensive line that has struggled against the run most of the season and has been hit with a rash of injuries. Pro Bowl defensive end Derrick Burgess missed two games due to injury. Fellow defensive end Tommy Kelly was lost to a season-ending knee injury.

The news hasn't gotten much better this week, either. While Warren returned to workouts, defensive tackle Warren Sapp was held out of practice Wednesday with a knee injury, though team officials are optimistic he'll be able to play against the Bears.

As far as the other Warren goes, however, the Raiders are holding their breath. He has been out far longer than team officials originally anticipated, and although he still leads the team in sacks (3), Warren still has to shake off the rust from not playing in over a month.

"He's been out for a long time now, so conditioning and game play will be a factor there," Kiffin said. "If we can get him playing to where he was before, it will be a big boost for us."


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