As the Raiders prepare to meet the San Diego Chargers on Sunday in what will be the organization's most important game in almost 10 years, the team is getting uncharacteristically welcome news from the injury report.
Oakland has been decimated with injuries this season, particularly on the offensive side of the ball, starting with QB Jason Campbell and extending to RB Darren McFadden, as well as wide receivers Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford.
The Raiders' defensive backfield has also been hit hard, with safety Michael Huff.
Now, with a win over San Diego and a loss by the Denver Broncos meaning the AFC West title goes to the Raiders, Oakland is getting some of those key players back, fresh and healthy. Rookie wide receiver Denarius Moore recorded his seventh multi-catch game this season last Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, just his second game back from a foot injury that caused him to miss three crucial weeks.
Wide receiver Jacoby Ford, out since spraining his foot during the Week 10 win over the Chargers, practiced for the first time in a month and is listed as questionable. Ford, who also handled the kick return duties before his injury, probably won't resume that role if he plays this week, according to head coach Hue Jackson.
Also returning to practice on the offensive unit were speedy wide receiver Louis Murphy and running back Taiwan Jones.
Free safety Michael Huff also returned to practice this week after missing two games with a hamstring injury. The Raiders' defensive backfield was hampered by the loss of cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha to free agency before the season, as well as cornerback Chris Johnson, who had to leave the team earlier this season due to a tragedy in his personal life.
They will need Huff back, especially if they manage to qualify for the playoffs.
One player the Raiders were hoping to get positive news on is running back Darren McFadden. McFadden was having the strongest season of his four-year career when he went down with a foot injury in Week 7, but he hasn't been able to return to the field.
The star running back has returned to practice on a very limited basis, but there is still no timetable for his return.
The Raiders can extend their season with a win over San Diego and some help from several other teams this Sunday. If they do manage to get into the playoffs, they may find themselves healthier than many potential opponents, a huge advantage after the grind that is the NFL season.
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