ALAMEDA – Mario Edwards Jr. will return to Raiders practice on Monday afternoon, head coach Jack Del Rio said in his weekly press conference.
This will be his first football activity since suffering a hip injury in the preseason opener. His rehab has been a slow process, but be he began side work on a practice field last week.
Edwards Jr. has officially been designated to return off of injured reserve, a list he has been on since the day after the first 53-man roster was set prior to the regular season.
He has a 21-day window to practice. After that he must be activated or placed on injured reserve. He can return before that, however, and could be ready by the Dec. 18 road game at San Diego if all goes well each day in his return to practice. He would have two full weeks to get back in enough shape to play on Sundays.
The Raiders have certainly missed Edwards Jr. on the interior defensive line. He’s an athletic player solid against the run and pass, a versatile chess piece the coaching staff planned to move around some before he got hurt.
General manager Reggie McKenzie said last week that Edwards Jr. hadn’t suffered setbacks or required surgery to fix his ailing hip, only that it took a while to be pain free.
“It was all on him,” McKenzie said on Dec. 1. “The injury was healing and has healed now. A lot of it is a different feel for him. I’m sure hadn’t ever been hurt there, and there’s a lot of stuff he had to get through. … As long as he’s asymptomatic, we’ll keep pushing the envelope with him.”