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Heyward-Bey Returns, But The Raiders Depleted Roster Faces A Tough Challenge In Atlanta

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By Ryan Leong

The Falcons have some injuries but nothing major.  Tight end Michael Palmer is still out with a shoulder injury he suffered against San Diego on September 23.   The team does not expect him to return until after the bye week and he has been ruled out of Sunday’s game.  Running back Antone Smith injured his hamstring two weeks ago against Carolina and is also out for Sunday.

beybey Heyward Bey Returns, But The Raiders Depleted Roster Faces A Tough Challenge In Atlanta

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Linebacker Stephen Nicholas is listed as questionable when he injured his ankle against Washington.   According to head coach Mike Smith, Nicholas is having trouble pushing off on the ankle.

Defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux is nursing a groin injury and also questionable.   Babineaux has played in all five games this season recording eight tackles and 2.5 sacks.  Both Nicholas and Babineaux were limited in practice on Friday.

Wide receivers Kevin Cone (knee), D.J. Davis (knee), Defensive tackle Peria Jerry (thigh), Center Todd McClure (pectoral), Safety William Moore (hip), Guard Garrett Reynolds (back), and corner back Dunta Robinson (shoulder) are listed as probable and all were full participants in the final practice on Friday.

Meanwhile the Raiders are still without corner back Shawntae Spencer who has a sprained right foot and starting right tackle Khalif Barnes still has that groin injury.   Both Spencer and Barnes will miss their third straight games.  Willie Smith will be starting for Barnes while Michael Huff continues to adapt to playing the corner back position where he has been moved from safety.

Tight end Richard Gordon has a hamstring injury and is out for his second straight game.  

Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly has a foot injury and listed as questionable but is expected to play.
    
Better news for the Raiders players listed as probable.  They included tight end David Ausberry (shoulder), Kicker Sebastian Janikowski (left groin), Running backs Taiwan Jones (shoulder) and Darren McFadden (shoulder), tight end Brandon Myers (shoulder), Center Alex Parsons (shoulder), Defensive tackle Richard Seymour (knee)

Most importantly, wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey coming off that nasty hit from Steelers safety Ryan Mundy, (concussion) was a full participant in practice and will start in Sunday’s game. This is very good news for a Raiders team that ranks 12th in passing.   

The Raiders run game has been severely lacking, ranking dead last in the NFL. But there is some good incentive for McFadden.  He is 170 yards shy of 3,000 rushing yards for his career.   He’d become only the 12th player in Raiders franchise history to run for 3,000 yards.  

Quarterback Carson Palmer all week has been stating the importance of sticking with the run game despite the lack of success.   Although look for Palmer to start passing the ball if the Raiders once again find themselves trailing in the game.

For reference:

  •     Probable: a 75% chance the injured player will be medically cleared for the game
  •     Questionable: a 50% chance the injured player will be medically cleared for the game
  •     Doubtful: a 25% chance the injured player will be medically cleared for the game
  •     Out: there is no chance the injured player will be medically cleared for the game

For more Local Football Bloggers and the latest Raiders news see CBS Sports San Francisco.

Ryan Leong has reported on over 2,800 games in the Bay Area since 1998, covering the Sharks, Giants, A’s, Warriors, 49ers, Raiders and the local college teams for radio networks and wire services. Having the best seat in the house to watch sports has been a thrill and Ryan still enjoys going to the games giving fans some insight and perspective on the players and coaches. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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