UPDATE (2:38pm on Saturday): The Raiders officially activated safety Nate Allen from the injured reserve/designated for return list Saturday afternoon. In a corresponding move, wide receiver Marcus Thigpen was waived. In a separate move, safety Tevin McDonald was re-signed to the practice squad.
ALAMEDA -– Nate Allen has suffered a serious injury that requires extensive rehab. The veteran safety tore his patellar tendon late in his rookie year with Philadelphia. He therefore didn’t miss many games.
Allen has never had a dormant stretch like this season. He has been out since tearing his right MCL during the season opener but, at long last, head coach Jack Del Rio said he’s ready to return to action on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.
“It feels like a really long time between games,” Allen said after Friday’s practice. “Weeks feel like months when you’re out like that. But I feel good now, and I’m excited to get back rolling.”
Allen was placed on short-term injured reserve –- relatively good news considering the nature of his injury –- and kept out of practice for six calendar weeks and out of games for two more.
Allen has been on schedule the entire time, and feels confident in his rehab and the knee itself.
“The MCL feels good,” Allen said. “I’m not really thinking about the knee anymore, even when I play or cut off of it hard. That’s usually the main concern when you come off of an injury like that. It’s stable, and it feels 100 percent.”
That great news for an ailing Raiders secondary. Allen will re-enter the starting lineup along with cornerback TJ Carrie, who played safety in Allen’s stead. Now he can move back to corner and help coverage on the perimeter.
If Friday’s practice during the media window is any indication, Carrie and David Amerson will play on the outside, with DJ Hayden entering as a nickel back.
“We’re both excited to be back,” Allen said. “We have a lot of guys who are nicked up and beat up right now, so it might be that we came back at the right time. We have a chance to get some fresh legs in there and help the defense out.”
Allen is happy to help and happy to be back after such a long absence.
“The first couple weeks are okay but, when you get five or six weeks into it, things change,” Allen said. “You can only practice so much. It’s tough come Sunday when you’re not active, but it’s part of the process of getting right again. I’m ready to go now, and I’m excited to be back.”