Raiders head coach Hue Jackson likes to say it’s “next man up” whenever a player goes down to injury.
But what if the next man is injured, too?
As Oakland (6-4) gets ready to play the Chicago Bears (7-3) Sunday at O.co Coliseum, the Raiders’ receiving corps, in particular, has become a tiny group.
On Wednesday, it consisted of Louis Murphy, Chaz Schillens and practice-squad player Eddie McGee, reported Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group.
Wide receivers Jacoby Ford, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Denarius Moore and T.J. Houshmandzadeh all were unable to practice. Moore was wearing a protective boot on his right foot to protect an injury he suffered against the Vikings, as was Ford. Heyward-Bey, who had to leave Sunday’s game after a blow to his head, has not yet been cleared to practice or play. And Houshmandzadeh was absent to be with his wife, who had a baby.
“It’s a concern,” Jackson told McDonald, who noted that Houshmandzadeh will play. “But I think we have a chance to get some of these guys back toward the end of the week.”
Also still on the sidelines Wednesday was running back Darren McFadden – who hasn’t started the past two games – and backup running back Taiwan Jones, who injured a hamstring against Minnesota. Steve Corkran of the Bay Area News Group reported that if McFadden and Jones can’t play against the Bears, Rock Cartwright might be pressed into service to spell Michael Bush, who has two straight 30-carry games for 100-plus yards.
With all the injuries at receiver and running back, Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer says it’s been hard to establish a rhythm this week.
“It makes it difficult,” he told McDonald. “You don’t get the same guys on the field from the week before, and the rhythm and timing slows down a little bit. So we have our work cut out for us.”
If Moore can’t play Sunday, it’s likely that Bryan McCann will return punts, Corkran reported.