ALAMEDA – Raiders safety Nate Allen safety was coming up to make a run stop that his teammates handled just in front of him. As he slowed down, linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong came flying in as a late addition to the tackling party and ran into the side of Allen’s right knee.
It didn’t look good at the time, and the diagnosis isn’t much better. The Raiders are concerned that he has tore a ligament – ESPN reports the fear surrounds his ACL – and will be done for the season.
Head coach Jack Del Rio is holding out hope following an MRI on Monday.
“We feel like he may have a chance to return,” Del Rio said in a press conference.
The Raiders feel he might return at some point this season. Playing right away seems virtually impossible.
Losing Nate Allen for an extended period, or the entire season is a major blow to a defense already thin at safety. Allen is a sideline-to-sideline defender who was expected to play most every snap for the Silver and Black. He could be a ball hawk in the back and help cornerbacks downfield. The Raiders don’t have someone who fits that role as well as he does.
Del Rio said the Raiders will look for safety help this week, with Allen seemingly out and Charles Woodson dealing with a shoulder injury. That leaves just Larry Asante and recent signee Keenan Lambert as the only safeties left on the roster. Asante can step in and start for Allen, but the Raiders needed help and got some.
A source confirmed that the team will re-sign Taylor Mays, who was part of final cuts, though he was here a brief period late in the preseason.
The Raiders may also turn to someone else who already has a locker in Alameda. Undrafted rookie Tevin McDonald had good moments this preseason but ended up on the practice squad. He’s a free safety by trade and already knows the system, which would make it easier to plug someone in and play.
Allen could end up on injured reserve if his ligament is torn and needs surgery. If it’s more of a strain and he can play on it eventually, the Raiders could put him on IR with the designation to return. That means a player can practice for six weeks or play for eight weeks.
-- Veteran safety Charles Woodson suffered a shoulder injury late in Sunday’s loss to the Bengals, and had an MRI on the ailing joint on Monday. Del Rio didn’t have results of that test prior to his Monday press conference.
-- Defensive tackle Justin Ellis suffered an ankle injury early in Sunday’s game. His status is uncertain, and joins a long list of injuries from the regular season opener.
“They all got banged up pretty good,” Del Rio said. “We’ll see how they respond.
-- The Raiders waived safety Brandian Ross off the injured reserve on Monday. They reached an injury settlement with the fourth-year veteran, who was placed on IR as part of the final roster cuts.