By Ryan Leong
The Raiders injury report is more or less a broken record. Like a record that is scratched/damaged, it will repeat again and again when the needle runs over the scratched area. The same is true of the roster. For the second straight game, running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson have been ruled out. They each have high ankle strains they suffered against Tampa Bay two weeks ago.
Without them, look to Marcel Reece to be the primary option at running back. Although given that Oakland ranks second to last in running, you can once again expect that quarterback Carson Palmer will be the throwing the football often in the game, especially if the Raiders fall behind.
Defensive tackle Richard Seymour is also out for the second game in a row with a knee and hamstring injury that has plagued him all season.
Although safety Matt Giordano and tight end Brandon Myers both suffered concussions against Baltimore, both have been listed as probable and are likely to play against the Saints.
Cornerback Michael Huff hurt his calf in that game but was not listed on the final injury report so it appears he too will start the game.
Strong safety Tyvon Branch has a neck injury. After being held out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday, Branch was limited in Friday’s final practice and is questionable. He is likely a game time decision by head coach Dennis Allen and if he can’t play, his replacement would be Mike Mitchell. Branch has started 57 consecutive games so that streak is in question. Mitchell has been primarily a nickel defender and has not played part of the standard defense but is eager to prove he can do the job if called upon.
Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey has a hamstring injury and like Branch, missed the first two days of practice and was limited in his participation on Friday. He too is a game time decision. If he cannot play, Allen says Derek Hagan would be the starter but receivers Juron Criner and Rod Streater would also see some playing time.
As for the Saints, they have five players listed on the injury report, three of which have been ruled out.
Running back Darren Sproles who has been recovering from a broken left hand is still listed as questionable. Sproles has been a full participant on Thursday and Friday’s practices. If Sproles is unable to play, the team seems to have plenty of depth at that position. Chris Ivory has been a ‘beast’ and former Saints quarterback Bobby Hebert calls him the poor man’s Marshawn Lynch. He is a force to be reckoned with.
Wide receiver Courtney Roby injured his shoulder two weeks ago against Denver and remains questionable.
New Orleans Saints
RB Darren Sproles (broken left hand) WR Courtney Roby (shoulder)
RT Zach Strief (groin), DE Junior Galette (left ankle), CB Corey White (left knee).
T Khalif Barnes (groin) , S Matt Giordano (concussion), TE Richard Gordon (hamstring) K Sebastian Janikowski (left groin), TE Brandon Myers (shoulder/concussion), FB Marcel Reece (hamstring)
S Tyvon Branch, (neck), WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (hamstring)
RB Mike Goodson (ankle), RB Darren McFadden (ankle), DT Richard Seymour (knee/hamstring)
- 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
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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.