by Matt Kawahara
NAPA -- Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said running back Mike Goodson was "doing a lot better" on Wednesday, less than a full day after being hospitalized following a collision with linebacker Philip Wheeler.
"He's still a little sore, so we'll have to monitor him and see where he's at," Allen said.
Goodson, who is vying to be the Raiders' running back, and Wheeler collided on a pass play, and Goodson was reportedly on the ground for about 15 minutes before being taken to a nearby hospital. After a CT scan and MRI came back negative Tuesday night, he was allowed to return to training camp headquarters.
Allen, who said he was "very relieved" that the outcome wasn't worse, didn't guess as to how long Goodson will be out, but did not explicitly rule him out of Monday's preseason opener against Dallas. Goodson was not at practice Wednesday. Allen said the collision was not a helmet-to-helmet hit but instead "a little bit of a freak deal."
"Mike kind of ducked a little bit. Philip kind of led with his shoulder a little bit and kind of lunged at him," Allen said. "It's things that happen in the game of football. It's an unfortunate occurrence. Fortunately Mike is fine and we move on from it."
With Taiwan Jones still sidelined by a hamstring injury and Darren McFadden not likely to play many snaps in the preseason opener, the bulk of the carries in that game could fall to Lonyae Miller.
Miller is a 6-foot, 216-pound running back out of Fresno State who played in four games with the Cowboys in 2010. He was signed by the Raiders to their practice squad last December and did not appear in a game.
"I would expect that he would be tired after Monday night's game," Allen said of Miller.
Fullbacks Marcel Reece and Rashawn Jackson, both of whom got some carries out of the backfield in practice Wednesday, could also take on some of those duties.
* The Raiders were scheduled to practice in full pads for a seventh consecutive day on Wednesday. But Allen decided to give the players a break, as they instead hit the field in shorts. For that reason there wasn't much contact. With the Raiders' list of nagging injuries growing, and a full off-day scheduled Thursday, it gave the players a little extra time to recuperate.
"We were going to go full pads today but we felt like the team has been giving us everything they've got, and it was time for us to kind of take a little it off of them," said Allen, who added that the decision "went over pretty good."
* One player bummed out by the decision was cornerback Ron Bartell. Bartell missed the first week of camp, so Wednesday was his first day eligible for full contact, something he said he was relishing after missing nearly all of last season to a neck injury. Instead, he'll have to wait at least until Friday.
After that, he won't have to wait much longer for his first game experience in nearly a year, with the preseason opener set for 5 p.m. on Monday in Oakland. Bartell said he's still shaking off some of the rust from his long layover, and that the biggest step will be experiencing full contact again.
"I'm looking forward to just playing football," said the veteran cornerback. "I don't care if it's Monday, Tuesday, it doesn't matter. I'm just happy to be back on the field, be healthy and be in a situation I think is perfect for me with a great group of guys that I get to play with, a good coaching staff, a good front office."
* Wheeler made a couple of nice plays in pass coverage. First he ran stride for stride with fullback Marcel Reece and reached out to deflect a pass from Carson Palmer. Then, a few plays later, he stepped in front of a pass intended for tight end Brandon Myers for an interception. Palmer, though, started signaling for a penalty immediately after the pick.
"He thought (the receiver) got held," Allen said. "It's funny, offense they always think it's (pass interference), and defense never thinks it is. That's just the way it is. We'll look at it on tape and see who's right."
* Along with Goodson and Jones, defensive end Jack Crawford (foot), linebacker Aaron Curry (knee), punter Shane Lechler (knee), receiver Eddie McGee (hamstring), receiver Denarius Moore (hamstring) and defensive end Richard Seymour (knee) did not practice.
Kicker Sebastian Janikowski also did not practice due to illness. Receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey appeared shaken up after a play in which he got tangled up with Bartell going after a deep ball, but returned to practice shortly.