ALAMEDA – Derek Carr's ailing back was X-rayed during Sunday's loss to the Denver Broncos, shortly after he got wrenched to the ground and kneed near the injury site. That scan didn't show anything significant.
The Raiders quarterback had an MRI Monday morning. Those images proved inconclusive. A CT scan showed something wrong.
Those images helped diagnose Carr with a transverse process fracture in his back.
Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio announced Carr's injury during his Monday afternoon press conference.
JDR: Carr injury was found on a CAT Scan this afternoon. X-rays didn't show anything. MRI was inconclusive. https://t.co/PCWJjTwaHJ
— Scott Bair (@BairNBCS) October 2, 2017
A transverse process is a protrusion of bone on each side of every vertebrae of the spine. It helps attach muscles and ligaments of the spine.
He said typical recovery is 2-6 weeks.
Other quarterbacks have been impacted by this injury. Tony Romo suffered fractures in a game and Cam Newton had them occur in a car crash. Both players missed just one game.
Even in the best-case scenario, that means backup EJ Manuel will start next week's game against the Baltimore Ravens at least.
"Derek is a great kid. He'll bounce back," Del Rio said. "I told him the team will take care of business while he's healing. When he can come back, he'll come back."
Del Rio said Carr had back spasms on Sunday night, but further testing revealed further damage.
"It's something that caused the spasms," Del Rio said. "He got several tests, and the last one came back (showing a fracture)."
Carr is the team's unquestioned leader, its public face. Losing him for any stretch is a setback to a scuffling Raiders offense and the team as a whole.
"It's always a big blow to lose a good player, a key player, a quarterback," Del Rio said. "The good news is that he's not done for the year. We'll get him back. It could be a short as two weeks. It could be longer. We'll see. We'll deal with that as it goes."
Manuel will take over as the interim starter. He played well after Carr went down late in the third quarter. He completed 11-of-17 passes for 106 yards and an interception that ended a Raiders comeback bid.
Manuel played well outside the pick, and threw a near-perfect ball that Jared Cook couldn't corral in the end zone.
"EJ gave us a chance there at the end and did some things really well," Del Rio said. "There are some definite positive, encouraging signs that we can build on."