ALAMEDA – Raiders weakside linebacker Cory James has battled knee injuries all year. That dates back to the preseason, when he had arthroscopic surgery. He started the first six games before knee issues crept back up. He missed a Week 7 win over Kansas City and the last two games.
The Raiders decided to shut him down Wednesday and let his knee heal. James was placed on season-ending injured reserve, the team announced.
Darius Latham was promoted from the practice squad in a corresponding move. Defensive end Joby Saint Fleur was took Latham's place on the practice squad.
James has developed into a steady starter. Last year's sixth-round pick played most every linebacker spot at Colorado State, but the Raiders focused him on the weak side. He had 67 tackles, two passes defensed and a forced fumble in 10 games this season.
James took 15 snaps in a Week 12 win over Denver, but hasn't played since. A knee that might need another surgical repair couldn't get him through the year.
Undrafted rookie Nicholas Morrow will continue taking James' snaps. He has been a near-permanent fixture in the lineup the past two games. He has 12 tackles in that span, and allowed two receptions for 14 yards on three targets Sunday against Kansas City.
James is firmly in the team's future plans, one set spot on a defense that could see significant turnover this offseason. The Raiders have to restock that unit, which could have 4-6 new starters next season.