Nate Allen is hot on the comeback trail, and has reached an important stage in his return to action.
The Raiders' safety practiced on Tuesday, according to the NFL transaction wire, and is expected to continue work in upcoming sessions.
Tuesday was the first day he was eligible to return to practice. Allen sustained a torn MCL in Oakland's Week 1 loss to the Bengals. Two days later, the Raiders placed him on injured reserve with a designation to return. Short-term IR prohibits a player from practicing for six calendar weeks after receiving the designation. He can't play in a game for eight calendar weeks.
After Taylor Mays struggled defensively in Week 2, the Raiders moved cornerback TJ Carrie to safety alongside Charles Woodson. Carrie has played well at a new spot, though it's a temporary post. General manager Reggie McKenzie said Tuesday that Carrie will return to cornerback upon Allen's return. That will strengthen a thin cornerback corps heavily reliant on DJ Hayden and David Amerson, who assumed a starting role shortly after being claimed off waivers from Washington. Neiko Thorpe has been the No. 3 cornerback, and Keith McGill hasn't played much defense after spending most of the offseason program with the first unit.
Allen isn't eligible to suit up for a game until Nov. 15 against the Minnesota Vikings.
The Raiders now have 21 days to either activate Allen or shut him down for the rest of the season.
The Raiders expect Allen to return on schedule, barring a setback. He has been running and cutting on the side for weeks now. His presence at free safety will provide a huge lift to the secondary as a whole and allow Woodson to be more a playmaker near the line of scrimmage.