Derek Carr is listed as questionable for Sunday’s Raiders game against Baltimore, which means that Jack Del Rio is listed as either disingenuous or nuts.
Carr has a transverse process fracture in his back incurred last week in Denver, but has practiced each of the last two days. But being listed as “questionable” seems insane even to those hundreds of millions of us without medical licenses. Indeed, most people outside the Raiders’ circle of trust (which is any Raider employee not being paid at least six figures and spends a lot of time around the players) guess that the most optimistic estimate guess for his return is next Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Now Del Rio might be having sport with us by listing him as even having a minimal chance to play against Baltimore. The injury list is always gamesmanship coated in contempt anyway, and almost no coach ever considers it as anything more than a tedious chore and even a despicable form of obedience to the league office.
But if Carr can play with a broken back even next week, that seems excessively risky business for the team’s most important player. Maybe back fractures aren’t all they’re cracked up to be (and yes, I am ashamed).
Or more likely, Carr will be held out until the Thursday night game against Kansas City October 19. It would meet the two-week criteria and put him in a vital game against arguably the best team in the AFC West.
But even then might be too soon, because one can never know how bad a back is until it is no longer back, and football is not just bad for brains but for vertebrae as well. In other words, the risk/reward scale slides more favorably the longer Carr is allowed to heal.
Presumably the doctors know this. Presumably the doctors have told the Raiders. Presumably the Raiders will impose upon Carr the need for caution rather than bravado. Presumably using him Sunday is such a spectacularly bad idea that it has never been considered and that even next week is too soon.
But you know what they say when one presumes. It makes a pres out of u and me.
Sorry again. I am doubly ashamed.