Raiders' McFadden has fractured orbital bone


Raiders' McFadden has fractured orbital bone

Paul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.comNAPA -- Raiders running back Darren McFadden, coming off a renaissance season in 2010, has suffered a fracture to his orbital bone and will be out "a couple of weeks," according to coach Hue Jackson.GUTIERREZ: Raiders scrambling to get under cap
"It's interesting because last year he was out a couple weeks and it was a hamstring," Jackson said following Thursday's practice. "Just little things here and there, and he'll be fine. We'll get him back out here and keep on rolling."Jackson said he was not sure when McFadden suffered the injury. But during Wednesday's drills, McFadden absolutely blew up linebacker Quentin Groves on a blitz pick-up drill. And after the block, a shaken McFadden took his helmet off and did not return to practice.

Still, after that practice, McFadden walked by reporters from the field house to the hotel and while he appeared woozy, there was no visible swelling or discoloration around either eye.According to, "an individual may return to heavy work 3 weeks after the injury if surgery is not required. If there has been surgical repair, heavy work is usually contraindicated until at least 3 weeks after surgery. In some cases, numbness of the cheek can persist after surgery."Jackson referred to it as "a little small fracture of his orbit. So he'll be out a couple weeks."Last season, his first season with Jackson as the Raiders' play-caller, McFadden rushed for 1,157 yards (he had a combined 856 yards his first two years in the league) and seven touchdowns while catching 47 passes for 507 yards and three scores.His 5.2 yards-per-carry average was second in the AFC among backs with at least 220 carries. He also missed three games with hamstring and foot injuries."He got snubbed in the Pro Bowl last year, I feel," quarterback Jason Campbell said Wednesday. "The guy, he runs with so much power, so much speed, and he practices the same way he plays. And that's something special to have as a quarterback. Because if you build that timing with him at practice, in a game it's the same way."He doesn't do anything different, he just continues to work hard and you can respect that. Definitely looking for him to do the same thing he did last year, if not more."Next man up? Well, Michael Bush has still not signed his tender offer from the Raiders -- if the Raiders give him a notice on Aug. 15, he has until Aug. 19 before he's considered a hold-out -- and rookie Taiwan Jones is sidelined with a lower body injury, as is Michael Bennett. Louis Rankin and Rock Cartwright had the most reps on Thursday.

Melifonwu back at Raiders practice, designated to return off IR


Melifonwu back at Raiders practice, designated to return off IR

ALAMEDA – Obi Melifonwu participated in a Raiders practice Wednesday afternoon, his first session in months.

The second-round safety has been on injured reserve all season and hasn’t done football activities of any kind since suffering a knee injury in a preseason game in Dallas.

He had arthroscopic knee surgery and was put on the shelf for the season’s first half.

He’s on the mend and nearing a return to action. That’s why the Raiders designated him to return off injured reserve. Wednesday marks the start of a two-week practice window where the Raiders can decide whether to put him on the 53-roster.

He’s expected to do so when eligible. Melifonwu was first able to practice this week, and can join the 53-man roster after Week 8. His NFL debut could come in Week 9 at Buffalo.

Melifonwu was drafted to help cover tight ends and running backs right away in sub packages, with a long-term eye on a full-time starting spot.

The Raiders still struggle covering the aforementioned skill players, using young linebackers or an undersized safety against those guys. The Raiders have given up the most yards to tight ends and running backs in the NFL this season.

He has missed significant development time while out. He also missed most of training camp with an apparent ankle injury. The team hopes he can be ready to contribute when eligible despite missing so much time.

Bowman out to prove something with Raiders: 'I have a lot of juice left'

Bowman out to prove something with Raiders: 'I have a lot of juice left'

NaVorro Bowman hasn’t been a Raider long. The inside linebacker visited the team’s training complex Monday morning, signed a one-year, $3 million contract that afternoon and was on the practice field a few hours later.

Bowman’s in something of a rush. His new team plays the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night. Bowman plans to face them.

That’ll take a crash course in Raiders defense. There’s new terminology to learn and roles to master, even if he hones on a specific package.

It won’t be easy. Even a perfect week might come up short with but one real practice in an incredibly quick turnaround.

It’s rational to think he won’t be ready, fair to give him two weeks practice before a Raiders debut.

That’s not the tack he’ll take.

“Hey,” Bowman said, with a wry smile. “I’m going to show you something.”

He understands the situation. The Raiders are 2-4, in desperate need of an AFC West win. A loss might put the Raiders too far down to rebound. The four-time All-Pro knows he’s needed, and believes he can help if he can get some scheme down.

“It’ll take a lot of hours, a lot of studying, a lot of repeating the same words and things like that,” Bowman said after Monday’s walk-through. “It’s part of being a good football player. You have to put the time in. It doesn’t come easy.

“I’m the guy to do it. I won’t let them down. I’ll put the work in that’s needed to be done.”

Immersing in brand new can be a cleansing process. Bowman left the only NFL team he’s ever known Friday when the 49ers cut him loose. He wanted to spend his career with one team. After seven-plus seasons, a switch was required. He didn’t like losing snaps. The 49ers wanted to go younger at the position. A trade was attempted. He didn’t like the suitor, and the 49ers respectfully pulled back. An outright cut was the decisive action.

It gave Bowman an opportunity to choose his next step. He didn’t go far. Bowman’s new job sits 35 miles north in Alameda, which offered plenty of advantages for a family man.

“My twin girls are five and my son is eight and they’re in school,” Bowman said. “They’re doing really well so you always want to keep that going as a parent. You don’t want to keep switching them in and out. That played a big part in what I was going to do. For the Raiders to show as much enthusiasm in wanting me to come here made my decision a lot easier.”

Enthusiasm was evident in two ways. The bottom line comes first. The Raiders offered $3 million to make this deal quick, adding a solid sum to the $6.75 million base salary guaranteed by the 49ers under his previous contract.

The second was clear in a Monday morning conversation with Jack Del Rio. The Raiders head coach spoke plainly, saying Bowman could make a major impact as a player and veteran leader of a shockingly young position group.

“It was really upfront, letting me know their position and how bad they want me,” Bowman said. “He let me know exactly what he wanted to get out of me coming here and being a presence for this defense. Being more vocal, getting guys to understand the urgency to be really good at the NFL level.”

His lessons start Tuesday morning. Starting weakside linebacker Cory James introduced himself in the locker room Monday and asked Bowman when he’ll start watching film. The answer: bright and early.

Bowman has a game to play Thursday. That’s possible because he didn’t have to relocate. He can just hit the ground running. He’s been constantly learning new systems during the 49ers coaching carousel, so he’d a quick learning. He also sees similar concepts between schemes.

“It’s not too different,” Bowman said. “The terminology is really the hard part. I’m a fast learner. I went out there today and I think I did pretty well. I’ll get in here early tomorrow and learn from my mistakes and try to keep getting better.”

That’s Bowman’s first goal. He also wants to show knee and Achilles’ tendon injuries haven’t sapped his effectiveness as many believe.

“I’m only 29 years old,” Bowman said. “I still have a lot of juice left in me.”