ALAMEDA -- Marshawn Lynch could be designated to come off injured reserve late this season, returning him to the Raiders in time to play the season’s last game at Oakland Coliseum, a Monday night affair with the Denver Broncos on Christmas Eve.
While it might be ideal for the Raiders to watch their native son play again in this disaster of a season, it shouldn’t be considered likely.
“I don’t know. I would say it would be very difficult, but I’m never going to shut the door with a guy like that,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said in his Monday press conference. “We’ve got a number of players, we already talked about (defensive tackle Justin Ellis) and Donald Penn, where we will see what happens with how fast they heal.”
That makes it seem highly unlikely Lynch will return this season. He ran extremely well early this season, but an injury snuck up against the Seahawks, and took away the Raiders’ best and most consistent offensive skill player.
Hope remains, but the Raiders can designate just two players to return off IR. Justin Ellis will be one. Gruden anticipates Ellis could return for a Week 11 road game at Arizona.
The other spot could go to Penn, who would be eligible to return in Week 13 at the earliest, though the veteran offensive tackle’s rehab timetable remains uncertain.
Doug Martin now is the Raiders' featured back, and had a good start in his expanded role. Well, except for a costly fourth-quarter fumble Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.
“He had the fumble. Obviously, that will be remembered by a lot of people, and rightfully so,” Gruden said. “But, what a performance he had yesterday.
"He picked up a couple blitzes. He ran with authority. He can catch the ball. He has a great stiff-arm, still. He still has a lot of life in his legs. He’s a good back, and he and (Jalen) Richard and (DeAndre) Washington will have to carry us here down the stretch but happy Doug is here.”
Other injury notes
-- Swing offensive tackle T.J. Clemmings will be placed on injured reserve later this week. He suffered a knee injury while playing special teams Sunday against the Colts.
-- Left guard Kelechi Osemele has given increased confidence to the Raiders' coaching staff, after practicing Friday before the Colts game. Osemele could make his return Thursday against the 49ers.
-- Defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes could play his first game of the season against the 49ers. The UCLA product has been on the physically unable to perform list after tearing his ACL in the 2017 season finale.
-- The Raiders did not practice but were required to submit an estimate participation report Monday. Osemele and Clemmings were the only players who wouldn’t have practiced. Bruce Irvin, Daryl Worley and Rodney Hudson are among those who would have been limited.