Raiders tight end Lee Smith caught a pass in the flat, and started to turn upfield when he was drilled with a low shot by Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith.
On Monday morning, NFL Network reported that Smith suffered a fractured bone in his lower leg, an injury that threatens his season.
Smith’s leg buckled under the blow and he fell to the turf. It didn’t look good at the time, and it was fair to feel the worst for a tough guy who needed help getting off the field and was eventually carted off the sideline. He was on crutches after Sunday’s victory over Baltimore.
Smith is a team leader and a unique talent on this Raiders roster. He’s the only tight end with a blocking emphasis, and adds a considerable amount to the Raiders running game and pass protection.
It’s uncertain how long he’ll be out. Head coach Jack Del Rio should address the matter at his Monday afternoon press conference.
The NFL designates one player can return off of injured reserve after eight weeks out, but the Raiders already plan to use that on defensive lineman Mario Edwards Jr., who has been on IR since the season started. He is due back for a Week 9 game against Denver.
The Raiders only have tight ends Mychal Rivera and Clive Walford left. Walford suffered a leg injury on Sunday, but Del Rio said he could’ve returned to the game.