ALAMEDA – The Raiders are woefully thin at tight end. They have just four healthy, and just one with NFL playing experience.
The cavalry may be coming soon. David Ausberry has made strides in his rehab from knee surgery and is ever closer to a return.
He did some active side work during Sunday afternoon’s practice, shortly after they cut recently signed Kyle Auffray, and was seen without the wrap he’s been sporting over his knee.
Those are positive signs that indicate Ausberry is close to a comeback. Ausberry would be a welcome sight at practice. He was ahead of a position battle to be the starting end before he got hurt in training camp.
“He’s doing better, he’s getting closer,” head coach Dennis Allen said. “He was able to get out on the field and do a little bit of field work, so that’s a step in the right direction. Hopefully he’ll get better and be able to be out there pretty soon.”
Other Raiders injury notes:
-- Allen said did not eliminate the possibility that cornerback DJ Hayden could return to practice this week.
“There’s a chance,” Allen said. “Whether he is or not, I don’t know the answer to that. I talked to him today and he said he had a good day out on the field today. So, we’ll see.”
-- Cornerback Tarell Brown was cleared to practice after suffering a concussion in Friday’s exhibition. Middle linebacker Nick Roach was also concussed against Green Bay, but he was not at practice.
[RELATED: Raiders examining options at cornerback]
-- Defensive tackle Justin Ellis was working for the first time in two weeks. He suffered a concussion in the first preseason game against Minnesota. He was joined by offensive tackle Matt McCants, who missed a week with a concussion.
Returned to practice: Matt McCants (concussion), CB Tarell Brown (concussion), DT Justin Ellis (concussion)
Did not practice: WLB Sio Moore (neck), MLB Nick Roach (concussion), CB Chimdi Chekwa (knee), CB Taiwan Jones (undisclosed), TE Nick Kasa (knee), G Lamar Mady (ankle), TE David Ausberry (knee)
Physically unable to perform: DJ Hayden (foot), G Lucas Nix (knee) Right tackle Menelik Watson (hip), linebacker Sio Moore (neck), tight end David Ausberry (knee), cornerbacks Taiwan Jones and Chimdi Chekwa (knee) and kicker Sebastian Janikowski (quad) were also sidelined on Sunday.