ALAMEDA – Right guard Gabe Jackson has made significant progress in his recovery from a knee injury, allowing the Raiders to feel comfortable carrying him on the 53-man roster until he’s ready to go.
The other option was placing him on injured reserve Monday with an eye on designating him to return after the minimum eight-week stay.
Jackson got hurt Aug. 8 in a joint training camp practice with the L.A. Rams, suffering an MCL injury that originally came with an eight-week recovery timetable. That would put him back in time for a Week 7 contest against Houston, with a Week 6 bye to get ready to go.
The Raiders want Jackson back as soon as possible, making it worthwhile to carry him until he’s healthy.
Head coach Jon Gruden has been pleased with Jackson’s recovery, who was moving well after Tuesday’s practice.
“I saw Gabe walking around, so I followed him around to see how that knee is doing,” Gruden said. “Really happy to see the progress that he’s made. We didn’t put him on IR for that reason. We think after the first few ballgames he’ll be close to returning.”
The Raiders are still search for the right mix at guard, with Jackson hurt and left guard Richie Incognito suspended while violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
Gruden said Denzelle Good’s set to start for Jackson, despite missing most of the preseason recovering from back surgery.
Jordan Devey and Jonathan Cooper are under consideration on the left, though the jury’s still out.
“We’ll see how this week goes. [Cooper] and Jordan Devey will battle that out,” Gruden said. “You have to consider how many lineman you are going to have active, seven or eight? Who’s the backup center? Who’s the swing tackle? Those are some things we’re wrestling with here between now and Wednesday.”
Raiders hope to bring Johnson off IR
Rookie cornerback Isaiah Johnson was placed on injured reserve Monday, but Gruden expects to bring the University of Houston product back around midseason.
Johnson has been down since the preseason opener, when teammate Marquel Lee inadvertently kneed him in the head. Johnson was diagnosed with a concussion, but has also dealt with a facial injury from the incident that won’t keep him down all year.
“I hope he comes back about Week 8. I hope he can,” Gruden said. “I think he has a chance to be as good a corner as we have here. He’s long. He’s a press corner. He’s talented. He got off to a great start. So hopefully late in the year there’s a spot for him.”
Johnson would come back as the fourth or fifth cornerback, but could impact the team immediately on special teams. He was an excellent gunner in punt coverage during his college days.
Other injury notes
-- Edge rusher Maxx Crosby has been practicing with a club lately to protect his surgically repaired hand, which got fractured during the preseason opener versus the Rams. He has switched to a different wrap, one that allows for the use of his fingers. That will help him perform in practice and games, possibly when the Raiders regular season opens Sept. 9.
-- Receiver J.J. Nelson has returned to practice after two-plus weeks down with an ankle sprain. The speedy wideout is being eased back into action, but said he’s moving comfortably and is re-integrating himself into the offense well. Nelson had an excellent start to training camp bef ore getting hurt against Arizona.