ALAMEDA –- Raiders running back Latavius Murray has been formally ruled out of Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Rams.
Interim head coach Tony Sparano said that Murray did not pass the final portion of the NFL’s concussion-related protocol, a series of tests that must be taken before being cleared to practice and play.
Murray passed enough tests to practice in a limited role on Wednesday and Thursday.
He was held out of practice on Friday, which seems to be a setback on his road to recovery.
“There’s a specific protocol you go through,” Sparano said. “… He’s not playing in the game. I’m being as honest as I can with you. There’s a specific protocol and, along the lines of the protocol, there is an amount that they can do. He has taken that amount, but the final step of the process, that didn’t work. At that point, you’ve got to, ‘A,’ abide by the rule, ‘B,’ you’ve got to make the decision as the coach, too.” The Raiders planned on exercising caution with Murray, and didn’t want to rush him back despite a dazzling performance last week against the Kansas City Chiefs. He had 112 yards and two touchdowns on just four carries in that game before suffering a concussion, which left Raiders fans wanting more.
They hoped to see Murray for an extended stretch on Sunday, but that itch won’t get scratched right away.
The Raiders are expected to use a mix of Darren McFadden, Marcel Reece and Maurice Jones-Drew at tailback against the Rams. McFadden should start, but Sparano said that carries will be distributed based upon game flow and situational football.
Reece, who declined an interview request after Friday’s workout, was particularly effective against the Chiefs and should see increased snaps as a primary tailback with Murray out.
“We’ll see,” Sparano said. “He ran the ball well. He should get carries.”