Gallery loss a big blow

The Raiders won a game but suffered a huge blow when left guard Robert Gallery went down with a broken leg. The good news? Gallery's injury might not be season-ending. The bad news? Tom Cable's options are limited now that he has to shuffle his offensive line.

The way things have gone for the Raiders over the past few years, it seemed only fitting that their first win of the season be marred by the loss of a major piece of their offensive line when Gallery told reporters after the win over Kansas City that he broke his left leg at some point during the game.

Just when Gallery suffered the injury is unknown but he came out with about two minutes left to play. He was on crutches in Oakland's locker room afterward and sounded optimistic when talking to reporters about the possibility of returning this season.

Head coach Tom Cable was unsure of the severity of Gallery's injury and wouldn't give a timetable for how long the former first-round draft pick might be out. Cable did say it appeared Gallery's injury was similar to the one suffered in training camp by Khalif Barnes, who has only recently returned to full practices.

No matter how long Gallery will be out -- at best he's looking at a month, at worst two if not the season -- Cable is going to have to work some magic to make up for the loss. He has few options available, and those that he does aren't promising.

When Gallery went out, center Chris Morris shifted over to left guard while Samson Satele came in to handle the snaps. Morris has been Gallery's primary understudy the past few seasons and he handled the transition smoothly, but Cable prefers the Raiders keep him at center because of his comfort level in the zone blocking system and because Satele has had problems making the line calls.

Cable has said that Barnes, a tackle who only returned to practice last week, would be the primary backup to both spots on the left side of the line, but Barnes was genuinely surprised when told that by reporters.

Paul McQuistan is the only other offensive lineman the Raiders have with much experience at guard, but he's played exclusively on the right side and Cable would be hesitant to move him to the left side.

The only other option Oakland has would be to sign a free agent, though the pickings are slim. Veteran Pete Kendall, who turns 36 next month, Terrence Metcalf and Toniu Fonoti -- a former second-round draft pick of the San Diego Chargers -- are available and might be worth a look.

Either way they go, it will be interesting to see how Cable and his staff adjust, not just in replacing Gallery but in adjusting the playbook. Much of the success the Raiders have had running the ball this season has come up the middle or to the left side. Gallery is Oakland's best offensive lineman and replacing him will be no easy task.


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