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Raiders backfield bit by injury bug

Oakland hesitant to turn to Jones

Associated Press

The Oakland Raiders have been struggling to run the ball with a healthy Darren McFadden for most of this season.

Now that McFadden and backup Mike Goodson are both dealing with high ankle sprains that put their status in doubt for this week, the Raiders could have even more concerns.

Coach Dennis Allen said X-rays and an MRI on McFadden came back negative and Goodson was undergoing an MRI on Monday. Allen said the team would have to see how the players respond and he would not rule them out yet when the Raiders (3-5) play the Ravens (6-2) in Baltimore on Sunday.

McFadden hurt his right ankle on the first or second carry of the game and tried to play through it before leaving for good just before halftime. McFadden had just seven carries for 17 yards and caught two passes for no yards in the loss.

“Darren wanted to be back out there, so that wasn’t a case where you risk any further injury,” Allen said. “Darren is a competitor, he wanted to be back out there, so we put him back out there.”

Allen said it was clear at halftime that McFadden wasn’t going to be able to “do it, so we kept him out the rest of the game.”

McFadden has been far from effective this year, rushing for just 455 yards in eight games. His 3.3 yards-per-carry average is sixth-worst in the league and the lowest for a Raiders starting running back since Pete Banaszak’s 3.2 average in 1976.

Goodson has shown flashes at tailback with 111 yards on 17 carries and 14 catches for 173 yards but might not be able to go.

That leaves Taiwan Jones (Eastern Washington) as the only healthy halfback. Jones has one carry and one reception all season and has been limited by injuries and ball-security issues.

“That’s obviously something that he’s got to improve on,” Allen said. “He’s got to make sure that he can protect the football and he’s got to make sure that he understands what his assignments are. As we get more comfortable with those things, he’ll earn more playing time.”

Allen said the team would look at bringing in a running back this week as insurance.

Also, DT Desmond Bryant was resting at home Monday after spending the night at the hospital with an irregular heartbeat.

Quick kicks

Minnesota Vikings WR Percy Harvin’s status is day-to-day with a sprained left ankle. … Kansas City Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel relieved himself of duties as defensive coordinator and the team waived CB Stanford Routt and signed DT Shaun Smith. … The NFL says a 30-yard touchdown run by Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams should not have counted because of an inadvertent whistle. … The NFL announced that Indianapolis’ Nov. 18 trip to New England would move from 10 a.m. to 1:25 p.m. PST on CBS.

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