Raiders quarterback Derek Carr isn't expected to play Sunday's game versus Baltimore. A transverse process fracture in his back eliminated that prospect.
Head coach Jack Del Rio said Monday his team captain could be out 2-6 weeks.
Left tackle Donald Penn spoke with Carr this morning. The Pro Bowl left tackle said Carr's "very ahead of schedule."
That statement was supported at Thursday's practice. Carr was seen working during open portions of that practice, stretching with the team and making throws during individual drills.
Derek Carr to Michael Crabtree. Yes, Carr is throwing in practice. pic.twitter.com/8xYdScfGoC
— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) October 5, 2017
Derek Carr at Raiders practice. pic.twitter.com/Y3hAOYXseu
— Ann Killion (@annkillion) October 5, 2017
That doesn't change the fact EJ Manuel will start Sunday at Oakland Coliseum.
There is a prospect, however, that Carr might return in time to play the L.A. Chargers in Week 13. That game comes 14 days after he got hurt in a 16-10 loss to Denver, just under the light side of Del Rio's recovery timetable.
Quarterbacks Cam Newton and Tony Romo suffered transverse process fractures in 2014, and both guys missed just one game. Each injury is different, but that shows precedent for a quick rebound.
Carr certainly wants to come back quickly, especially after two disappointing performances in consecutive losses. So much of the back, lower body and torso is involved in throwing a football, so some limited activity. Carr must prove to the staff he's right and healthy, but an ability to practice so quickly after the injury, even in a limited capacity, is a positive sign.