ALAMEDA -- Rashad Jennings has suffered concussions before. His first came against the Buffalo Bills, which cut his 2012 campaign four games short.
Jennings’ second was suffered last week against the Dallas Cowboys, when an inadvertent knee slammed his head into the turf.
He couldn’t walk straight off the field, and was clearly disoriented after the team’s latest loss. Jennings said this one wasn’t any worse than the first, but he has no idea whether he’ll play on Sunday against the New York Jets.
Nor should he. Independent physicians will make that final call, whether he’s cleared for contact and to play. Jennings has been cleared to practice, and he was limited for a second straight day on Thursday.
The Raiders remain optimistic Jennings will play. With Darren McFadden and Jeremy Stewart out with injury, they sure need him to.
The fifth-year veteran wouldn't delve into specifics of how he feels or has felt since Thursday, but he’s clearly on the mend.
“Everybody saw how I walked off the field and you can see how well I’m doing now,” Jennings said. “We’ll just take it day by day.”
Jennings has a few days to prove himself healthy, although the Raiders won’t push him to return.
“If we feel like a player is healthy and presents no risk, then they’ll play,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. “If there’s any sort of risk involved, then we’re going to play the safe bet and hold them out.”
If Jennings can’t go, fullback Marcel Reece and running back-turned-defensive back Taiwan Jones will see action. Jones has taken reps on offense all week.
[RELATED: Taiwan Jones takes RB reps]
The Raiders ground game will take a hit without Jennings at his best. Jennings hopes he can play against the NFL’s No. 1 run defense. The physical rusher likes a challenge, and the Jets are sure to give him one. They allow just 77 yards per game.
“I love it. If you can’t get excited for this, you’re in the wrong business,” Jennings said. “You have to tip a cap to that defense. They’re very good against the run. It’s exciting to go against a unit of that caliber. They’re good, but I think we’re pretty good running the football too. It’ll be a fun challenge on Sunday, but execution has to be consistent to have success.”
Raiders participation report
Did not practice: WR Denarius Moore (shoulder), RB Darren McFadden (hamstring), RG Mike Brisiel (ankle, knee), LB Kaluka Maiava (ribs, calf), RB Jeremy Stewart (ankle, knee), S Usama Young (neck).
Limited participation: SS Tyvon Branch (ankle), LB Miles Burris (toe), Jason Hunter (foot), RB Rashad Jennings (concussion), DE Jason Hunter (foot)
Injured reserve: CB D.J. Hayden (groin), WR Juron Criner (shoulder), TE David Ausberry (shoulder), RB Latavius Murray (ankle), K Eddie Carmona (leg), G Tony Bergstrom (foot)