ALAMEDA -– Derek Carr has never missed a football game due to injury. Not in the NFL, or at any other level. He’s played through more pain than you realize, but nothing so debilitating he couldn’t start a game that mattered.
“I do not plan on it,” the Raiders quarterback said when asked if he'd miss Week 2.
Next week’s game against the Baltimore Ravens won’t snap the streak. All signs point to Carr playing Sunday after bruising his throwing hand trying to stiff-arm a defender while running for a first down.
“We anticipate that he’ll be ready to go,” head coach Jack Del Rio said.
Exams showed no structural damage in his hand and thumb. Swelling has gone down considerably since Sunday, and Carr was able to participate fully in Wednesday’s padded practice. Some inflammation remains, but Carr said it didn’t hinder his practice effort. He was zipping passes all over the practice field, and his grip should improve as the week carries on.
“It isn’t 100 percent, but it’s pretty close,” Carr said. “I’m not going to hurt our team and I’m not going to hurt myself further when it’s only the (second) week and go out there and make it worse. We all felt it was good enough; the coaches, training staff, the doctors, that I could go out there today.
“I went out there and took 99 percent of the reps. I think the one percent that I didn’t was just for them to be cautious and see how it reacted. It’s all fine. It felt good.”
The Raiders are lucky to be at this point. Carr could’ve seriously damaged his throwing hand slamming it into a defender’s facemask. He thought the worst when it initially happened, with stress only relieved by later tests.
“I knew when I tried to grab that ball and throw it to [wide receivers] coach (Rob) Moore on the sideline, that something wasn’t right,” Carr said. “I just had to make sure that I could take a snap. If I couldn’t open up my hand enough to take a snap, I’m not going to help us. I don’t want to fumble it and give them the ball right here. The smart thing was to get it checked and see what we could do going forward.”
Carr will make sure to slide in the future. It’s tough to turn off competitive instincts, but being smart in those situations could’ve helped keep his team in the game.
“In the spur of the moment, especially where we were at (in the game), we needed a first down,” Carr said. “We needed something. Just like my teammates said, they loved why I did it but don’t do it again. It’s hard to draw that line. I know I have to be smart for the team’s sake. Just get down and we’ll live to play the next play, instead of not being able to come back. I learned from it, that’s for sure.”