That Darren McFadden breakout game the Oakland Raiders have been hoping for is going to have to wait for another 2 to 4 weeks. That's how many games McFadden will miss after tearing cartilage in his knee, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
McFadden apparently ripped a meniscus in his knee during his career-worst, six-carries-for-minus-three-yards performance in a Raiders' loss to the Houston Texans. He had surgery to repair the ligament Monday, and may require up to a month to recover.
Fortunately for the Raiders, they never did quite decide on a true starting running back. Justin Fargas and Michael Bush have both handled starting back duties in the past, and can step in without great disruption. Running back injuries are less of a setback for teams who handle their running attack with a three-man committee, and Fargas and Bush have both shown plenty of spark in the past.
Unfortunately for the Raiders, this may confirm that Darren McFadden is a back with durability issues. McFadden's injury history was a concern prior to his being drafted, and his injuries are probably why he was a two-time Heisman Trophy bridesmaid without ever winning it. The guy had a history of getting hurt and missing a few games at a time, and that pattern seems to be repeating itself now that McFadden plays in the NFL.
McFadden's injury couldn't come at a worse time in the Raiders' season. A full four-week absence could coincide with a four-game stretch against the New York Giants, the Philadelphia Eagles, the New York Jets, and a rematch against the Chargers. These are all winning teams, with only four combined losses between the bunch of them. Rusty Simmons points out in the Chronicle that "three of them are among the NFL's top four defenses."
Raiders' coach Tom Cable has not named his starting back for Sunday yet, and in remarks Monday still seemed disappointed over losing McFadden for such an important stretch. "That’s this game," he told the Press-Democrat. "It’s going to do that to you once in a while.”
Raiders' fans would just like to see a running back who can play the entire season once in a while.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who is hearing that watermelon seeds might help with his "durability issues."