The Raiders are limping into their first preseason game – literally for some players. After being fairly low-injury for the first week of camp, the second week brought a multitude of lower limb injuries on players of most every position.
The Raiders are especially thin at linebacker where UDFA Mario Kurn suffered a knee injury that will put him on the I.R. list and he will not be able to recover for this season.
With Kurn’s likely IR listing, the team is left with only 9 linebackers on the current squad. Of the 9 players still on the active squad, four – Kaelin Burnett, Miles Burris, Chad Kilgore and Nathan Stupar – are rookies.
Also on the squad is Carl Ihenacho who is a second year player after being on the Raiders practice squad last year. He has not played in a regular season game. Therefore, more than half of the teams current linebacker corps has not played in a regular season NFL game.
Further included in the squad is linebacker Aaron Curry who was expected to contribute heavily at OLB this season but has been dealing with a knee injury for the entire training camp and has yet to be able to practice with the team. He is, according to head coach Dennis Allen, currently in Los Angeles getting treatment for his knee which is not healing as hoped.
Therefore the team has only 8 bodies to play linebacker on Monday night and have no margin for error to have any further injuries. It’s also likely that the team will sign at least one linebacker next week to compete in camp.
Assuming that Kurn and wide receiver Duke Calhoun – who will also miss the rest of the season with a knee injury – both are listed on the IR early next week, the team will have 86 players on the active roster leaving 4 spots they can fill to compete.
There are numerous other Raiders players that are struggling with hamstring injuries, as well, including Shane Lechler, Denarius Moore and Taiwan Jones and Allen said those players will not be playing on Monday.
Also expected to sit this game out is RB Mike Goodsen who has yet to practice since a violent collision that sent him to the ER in an ambulance with fears of a neck fracture. MRI and CT scans came back negative but the team is rightfully going slowly with his healing.
Allen will be happy if the team can get some good work in and have some tape against an actual opponent while still being able to escape without injury.
The Raiders first preseason game is tomorrow, Monday Aug 13th at 5:00 pm PT and will be shown nationally on ESPN and locally on KPIX.
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