Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

October 25, 2008
Injury updates

BALTIMORE - After informing the media RB Darren McFadden (toe), QB Andrew Walter (calf) and DT Gerard Warren (ankle) were all probable to play tomorrow against the Baltimore Ravens, the official injury report issued by the NFL lists the trio as questionable.

In football terms that means they went from a 75 percent chance of playing to 50 percent.

When asked about the status of the trio on Friday, coach Tom Cable said, "one will be questionable that I know of" before declaring Derrick Burgess (triceps) and Jon Alston (foot) doubtful.

McFadden's turf toe is something that seems like it isn't going away anytime soon. But I'm not a doctor and don't pretend to be an expert.

So I reached out to Stephania Bell, PT, OCS, CSCS for more information on turf toe. She is the Injury Analyst and a Senior Writer for ESPN.com.

McFadden injured his toe Sept. 14 in Kansas City. He'd been out of a walking boot for a couple of weeks when he woke up Thursday morning with soreness.

I wanted to know exactly what is wrong with McFadden's toe and if rest is the only way to correct the problem.

Here is Bell's explanation:

"You're right. In most cases, it's rest. The problem (usually) is a sprain (partial tearing) of the ligaments that support the 1st metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint, where the base of the big toe meets the ball of the foot. Stretching of tissue prevents those fibers from coming together and scarring to heal. Every time you push off the ball of your foot it is not only stretching the tissue, you're putting full weight through the joint, increasing the overall load. Rest, and a walking boot (which given the flat surface essentially prevents toe extension) allows that tissue to heal. The degree of injury determines the time to heal, so it's often tough to heal fully in season, especially if microtrauma keeps occurring with use. A few days here and there allows it to feel better, but then gets aggravated when subject to strain - worse if gets stepped on, twisted, etc."

Healing time varies and ranges from weeks to months. She added some cases require surgery.

In extreme cases (Bell noted Deion Sanders) it can end a career, but that would be rare.

There's no indication McFadden is near the point of needing surgery, especially since he was able to practice, albeit in a limited role, Thursday and Friday.

McFadden said cutting back his practice work is an attempt to prevent the injury from getting to the point he's in constant pain.

*It was nice of John Elway to weigh-in on JaMarcus Russell's situation in Sporting News while taking a jab at Al Davis and the always unstable coaching situation.

Elway feels bad for Russell being in situation with "organizational instability that can ruin a quarterback."

That includes not having a steady coaching staff and not giving the young quarterback the players around him to succeed.

There's a good chance by this time next season Russell will be playing for his third head coach and second offensive coordinator in just three seasons.

Elway said it was too bad Russell couldn't do what he did and force a trade to not play for the team that drafted him, the Baltimore Colts.

Russell said when he signed with the Raiders during Week 2 of the 2007 season that he didn't think about not playing for Oakland and assumed everything would be worked out eventually.

He really didn't have much of a choice. Russell didn't have a promising baseball career as leverage like Elway did back then.

This won't be the last time someone takes a shot at the Raiders. The perception that the franchise is in disarray is everywhere.

At the NFL Combine in February, there were agents saying their clients were asking if there was a way NOT to be drafted by the Raiders in the wake of all the news that had come out surrounding former coach Lane Kiffin.

I think it's too early to begin the discussion of if Russell's career will be ruined by his first two seasons.

But with another coaching change and new assistants, Russell would be on the path of many other quarterbacks that failed to live up to expectations.

He needs stability. We'll see if he gets it.

--Jason Jones

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About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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