ALAMEDA – Marcel Reece took a direct shot to the knee in Sunday’s loss to the Washington Redskins. It was a hit that could’ve caused significant damage. The Raiders are lucky it didn’t.
The star fullback had a clear MRI on Monday and was back at practice on Wednesday afternoon. He was limited in the week’s only padded session, and odds are good he’ll play Sunday against the Chargers.
News isn’t so good on Darren McFadden. The running back and offensive focal point missed Wednesday’s session with a hamstring strain suffered just moments after Reece went down.
Offense slammed to a halt Sunday with McFadden and Reece out. The Raiders can ill-afford to play without them again.
Coach Dennis Allen didn’t update McFadden’s status, although his odds of playing decrease with every practice missed. Having Reece back so quickly was an encouraging sign.
“It was,” Allen said. He ran around a bit yesterday and tested it out. He felt good and was able to practice today. I thought he had a good practice, so we’ll continue to monitor him throughout the week, but I was encouraged to see him out there.”
Reece is a real weapon when used. He has eight touches in four games, but three of them scored touchdowns. He’ll be as asset next week against the Chargers as a fullback and a reserve running back if McFadden can’t go. He’s done well in that role, especially last season.
He made four starts at running back in 2012, exceeding 100 yards total offense in three of them. That run included a game against New Orleans where he had 193 yards of total offense.
Allen said Rashad Jennings is the first option if McFadden can’t go, but Reece will factor heavily into that contingency plan.
Watson back to work: Rookie offensive tackle Menelik Watson practiced for the first time since having arthroscopic knee surgery just prior to the regular season. The second-round pick missed a month, and was limited on Wednesday as the Raiders ease him back in to full-time action.
Watson has missed all but a handful of practices since turning pro due to a calf injury in camp and his recent knee issue.
“I think what we all have to realize with Menelik is that he’s taken limited reps this whole year,” Allen said. “We have to take some time to evaluate him and see where he is and what he can do. There’s a lot of upside to that player, but we haven’t had a chance to get much work with him.”
While Watson played right tackle in college and left tackle (in an emergency trial) during his lone preseason game, he’ll work at both spots moving forward.
“It was good to get back out there and knock some rust off,” Watson said. “I’ve been out physically but not mentally. I feel like I jumped right back in, and I wasn’t as gassed as I thought I might have been. The key is cleaning up the technique as much as possible in case my number’s called on Sunday.”
Wisniewski should play: Raider center Stefen Wisniewski missed Wednesday’s workout with a knee sprain, but he shouldn’t miss much time.
“I’m hopeful and anticipate that Wiz is going to be able to play,” Allen said. “He wasn’t able to practice today, but I’m hoping we’ll be able to get him in there and get him some work as the week goes on. “
Andre Gurode is the No. 2 center, but guard Lamar Mady worked there Wednesday is Wisniewski’s place.
Who’s the new guy? The Raiders signed running back George Winn to the practice squad on Wednesday. The team had an open slot after promoting Mady to the 53-man roster.
Full participation: QB Terrelle Pryor (concussion)
Limited participation: DE Jason Hunter (quadriceps), LG Lucas Nix (ankle), RT Tony Pashos (groin), CB Tracy Porter (concussion), FB Marcel Reece (knee), OT Menelik Watson (knee)
Did not practice: RB Darren McFadden (hamstring), DT Stacy McGee (shoulder), SS Tyvon Branch (ankle), C Stefen Wisniewski (knee), FS Charles Woodson (not injury related)
Injured reserve: TE David Ausberry (shoulder), RB Latavius Murray (ankle), K Eddie Carmona (leg), G Tony Bergstrom (foot); Designated to return: LT Jared Veldheer (triceps)
Physically unable to perform list: LB Miles Burris (knee)