Russell slowed by sore knee

JaMarcus Russell wasn't able to finish practice because of tendonitis in his right knee but the injury won't prevent the Raiders' second-year quarterback from playing against Carolina this weekend. Find out what happened to Russell, who else missed practice and other Thursday's practice in Alameda.

Russell ran Oakland's first team offense for the majority of the workout but pulled up with soreness in his right knee toward the end of practice. Rather than risk it, interim coach Tom Cable had Russell come out and replaced him with backup Andrew Walter.

"It's more precautionary than anything else," interim coach Tom Cable said. "We kind of did it just to hold him back.He did a great (job) today so the last eight reps weren't going to matter."

Russell injured his left ankle after getting sacked midway through the third quarter of last week's 24-0 loss to Atlanta but didn't report any problems with his knee.

He worked out Wednesday without concern before the tendonitis flared up on Thursday.

Russell wasn't available for his usual weekly press conference with the media and only made a brief appearance in the locker room. He wore an ice wrap around his knee and held an electric stimulation machine that had wires leading to the same knee.

Cable expects Russell to start against the Panthers but Oakland, already struggling to get its offense going, could be in trouble if he can't. Walter has been slowed by a calf injury that has prevented him from taking part in a full practice for two weeks.

That leaves Marques Tuiasosopo as the team's only healthy quarterback. Ronald Curry could also play quarterback in a pinch and even lined up there in the ‘Wildcat' formation against Atlanta before the Raiders were called for a false start.

None of that matters, though. All indications are that Russell should be ready to go.

McFADDEN'S TOE STILL A PAIN

Darren McFadden has a pair of new cleats but the Raiders' rookie running back is still a longshot to play this weekend against Carolina.

McFadden, who has sat out Oakland's most recent two games, took part in a limited workout for the second straight day and appears to be making progress. He strolled through the Raiders locker room after practice wearing tennis shoes but quickly traded his left shoe for a protective boot.

Cable held out hope that McFadden will play against the Panthers but said he has to show progress at Friday's practice before Oakland will even consider activating him.

"I hope to (make a decision) tomorrow," Cable said. "He looked pretty good yesterday and today he kind of looked the same. It's not gotten a lot better but it's not bad. It's just whether or not it's good to go."

McFadden is anxious to return. He had just recovered enough from a turf toe injury in his right foot when he suffered a similar injury in his left foot, which forced him to spend the last two weeks as a spectator.

The Raiders could also use him. Their offense is 29th overall in the NFL while Oakland is last in the league in scoring and the lone team that has yet to crack double digits in touchdowns.

Starting running back Justin Fargas also has an unknown injury on his left forearm. He practiced Thursday but left the locker room wearing a long black brace on his arm, though he is expected to play.

· A day after bluntly and emphatically stating that Mario Henderson would not start at left tackle against Carolina, Cable backtracked somewhat and said the second-year offensive lineman will split time with starter Kwame Harris.

"The more I can create competition all over the team, specifically at that spot, which really in the last couple of weeks hasn't been very good," Cable said. "(We) have to let the cream rise to the top here. Mario's ready to go. Probably what I will do is rotate them in the first half. If one of them is really kind of hooked up and settled in, we will just let him play the second half."

· Backup strong safety Michael Huff was held out of practice because of a sore hip.

· Defensive back Stanford Routt told reporters he has lost his job as the team's nickel back, which could mean the Raiders will go back to using their Wolverine defense, which utilizes three safeties. In that case, cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Chris Johnson would be joined by Gibril Wilson, Hiram Eugene and Rashad Baker.

· Cable said he told Johnson, who is replacing recently released DeAngelo Hall in the Raiders starting lineup, to take advantage of the situation.

"My words to him were pretty simple. ‘This is your opportunity, and everyone is going to watch you. You will be scrutinized. All you can do is go out and do the best that you can, and that will be good enough. You will play well if you do that. If you worry about what someone says or a comparison or whatever all that is, you'll get caught up in that, and it will take away from your game.' So, if he can really keep his focus right, he'll be fine."

Speaking of Hall, the veteran cornerback told NFL.com that he harbors no ill feelings toward Raiders owner Al Davis but added that being released by the team was "a blessing."

"I want the world to know that this didn't happen because I was a dirt bag and messing around," Hall said in a story on the league's website. "A lot of people were making me out to be a (bad person). It is what it is, a business decision. Al Davis assured me that it had nothing to do with me, the person. It was a financial thing.

"This is a blessing. I have learned it's not all about the money. I've learned now it's more about the team. Ain't all money good money. I took the bait. I went for the money and I didn't research the situation. But I don't think I would trade this for the world. Just to meet Al Davis, to get to pick his brain, to know the kind of person he is and the impression he had on football is good for me to say that I know him."

· The game against Carolina did not sell out and will be blacked out locally. It's the first time this season the Raiders have failed to sellout at home.


SB Report Top Stories