ALAMEDA – Hunter Renfrow is the only Raiders receiver to play every game this season. That streak, it seems, is coming to an end.
The fifth-round draft pick suffered a rib injury during a 34-3 loss to the New York Jets that could keep him out a significant stretch, head coach Jon Gruden said during his Monday press conference. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported earlier Monday that Renfrow suffered a broken rib and a punctured lung on Sunday, and Gruden could not eliminate the possibility that the rookie will miss the season's final five games.
"We'll see the severity of it. We'll never put anybody at risk," Gruden said. "...We have to make sure he sees the people he needs to see and we make the decision based on the medical exams. We're concerned, we're disappointed and we'll miss him."
Individuals with punctured lungs are often not allowed to fly, but Gruden said Renfrow was cleared to travel home Sunday night with the team.
Losing him before the Raiders play a monumental AFC West game in Kansas City is a significant blow. The Raiders have other receivers who can play the slot, but nobody who specializes in that role like Renfrow does.
Thanks for all the prayers and well wishes. I hate more than anything I can't help this team for the next few weeks but God dosent make mistakes! He will use this injury for his glory no matter what! I'll be back better #RaiderNation— Hunter Renfrow (@renfrowhunter) November 26, 2019
Gruden said Keelan Doss could play more in the slot -- he has been inactive most weeks -- with Zay Jones and tight ends Darren Waller and Derek Carrier are options working inside.
"Not having Hunter available is a big loss for us," Gruden said. "We've had a lot of turnover at that position this year. It's really too bad. I'll say this: Renfrow is going to be a great Raider. He has really been playing well for us."
The Raiders have struggled at receiver, with Renfrow developing into a steadying presence in the pattern. That has been especially true on third down, where he finds enough space to move the chains.
Renfrow spoke after the loss about a big hit taken early in Sunday's game that brought him to the sideline for a spell, but the Clemson product said he just got the wind knocked out of him. He returned to the game after that hit and had a Jets defender land on him after a reception converted a third down in the second half.
An official sensed something was wrong and came over to check on him, and Renfrow left the field at that point.
Renfrow has 36 receptions for 396 yards and two touchdowns on the season, with 23 of his catches going for first downs.