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ALAMEDA – Raiders running back Latavius Murray has been formally cleared to play Sunday’s game against the 49ers. He passed the final stage of the NFL’s concussion protocol on Monday, and was a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice.
The second-year pro didn’t pass the protocol’s final stage last week, and was therefore held out of a Friday practice and a loss to the St. Louis Rams.
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“He was able to do a lot more today,” interim head coach Tony Sparano said. “It was good to see him get back out there. …If all goes according to script, he’ll get his turns. Hopefully we’ll see a little bit more than we have.”
Murray has just 14 carries on the season, including four for 112 yards and two touchdowns before being concussed in a victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.
Fan excitement surrounding his ability was quelled some by his absence. While Murray wanted to return quickly, concussions aren’t an injury to rush. The 24-year old understood that, and didn’t cut corners in his recovery.
“It was tough to sit out when all I wanted was to get out there and run again, but you have to be smart with these things,” Murray said. “Now I’m back, cleared and ready to go. I’m excited to have gotten through this. I felt good heading into (the final test), and I honest about anything that was going on. I had a good idea I would be fine and that I’d be ready to go.”
Having Murray available will be key against a tough 49ers defense that can get after the quarterback without a running game to deflect attention. The Raiders have struggled mightily on the ground, averaging just 72.5 yards per game. Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew are averaging a combined 3.04 yards per carry.
“We have a good test in front of us,” Murray said. “It’s a team right up the road, and it’s going to be exciting. I’m happy to be cleared, so I can be a part of it.”