OAKLAND -- All season long the Raiders have fought a constant opponent, it's the same one the team that used to share a zipcode with them now fights across The Bay: Injuries.
From Day 1, Jon Gruden's club has battled injuries. There was Tyrell Williams' feet, Josh Jacobs' shoulder, Trent Brown's calf and knee, now Rodney Hudson's ankle and the numerous injuries of now-departed Raiders Antonio Brown, J.J. Nelson and Ryan Grant. Let's not forget the 12-game suspension to middle linebacker Vontaze Burfict.
But the Raiders' aches and pains are a far cry from the plague that has befallen the Warriors, whose basketball dynasty was crippled in six devastating games dating back to the 2019 NBA Finals. Kevin Durant's Achilles, Klay Thompson's ACL, Steph Curry's broken hand and Draymond Green's torn finger ligament led the Warriors to trot out a lineup that would hardly be recognizable even to their most ardent supporters.
Injuries aside, Gruden knows the Raiders, like the Warriors, must batten down the hatches and fight through the adversity if they plan to make it back to the postseason.
"Well it's pretty obvious," Gruden said when asked how big the Raiders' 31-24 Week 9 win over the Lions on Sunday. "We're building our team. I'm just going to continue to hit that chord. We want to win every week, we'd like to go back to the Super Bowl and win it for our fans and our players and everybody included. But we're building a team and I like some of the blocks that we've got in place. I'm going to leave it at that. We got a heck of a challenge on a short week. We're missing a lot of key players and I know the Warriors are missing key players and it ain't easy."
While the Warriors will be without Curry for at least three months, Thompson likely for the entire season and Durant forever after he joined the Nets in free agency, the Raiders still have quarterback Derek Carr, tight end Darren Waller, Jacobs and Williams to lean on as they prepare for a massive Thursday night game against the rival Chargers in Week 10 that could propel them toward the playoffs should they secure a win.
In a weakened AFC, Gruden and the Raiders have their entire path in front of them at 4-4. Rack up the wins against subpar competition -- Bengals, Jets, Jaguars and Titans -- and you'll be playing meaningful football in the final weeks of the season with the playoffs within reach.
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr's outlook is much bleaker. Without Curry and Thompson and off to a 1-5 start in a loaded Western Conference, the Warriors must look to the future and spend the season developing their young players for what they hope is the second half of their planned dynastic run.
The Warriors have been crippled, there's no other way to put it.
Jon Gruden feels their pain, but at least the Raiders still have a path to survival.
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