HOUSTON – Already battered and bruised, the Raiders just took another Joe Frazier shot to the gut.
Donald Penn was ruled out of Saturday’s playoff game against the host Houston Texans with a knee injury, meaning rookie quarterback Connor Cook will make his first NFL start without a Pro Bowler watching his back.
I did everything I could 2 play tomorrow I mean everything in tears right now haven't missed a game my entire career lost 4 words😡😡😡😤😤😤— Donald Penn (@DPENN70) January 6, 2017
Penn got hurt in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss to Denver, and while he returned for that game’s final snap, he just wasn’t right. He skipped a week’s practice trying to recover in time, but the Raiders deemed him unfit to play in this important game.
Starting right tackle Menelik Watson is expected to shift to the left side, with veteran Austin Howard taking Watson’s place. Both players can produce quality, but the line is significantly weaker without Penn.
He had allowed one sack all season and ranked high among the NFL’s best run blocking tackles.
Penn started 155 consecutive regular-season games, and was excited to play in a playoff atmosphere. Most believed he would try to go, even if it meant playing through extreme pain.
The Raiders will also play without safety Nate Allen, who did not pass the NFL’s concussion protocol this week.
Quarterback Matt McGloin practiced all week and is expected to be Cook’s backup against Houston.
Missing Allen and having McGloin available was expected. Losing Penn is a blow to a team already reeling from Derek Carr’s broken fibula a few weeks back.
Several other Raiders, including safety Karl Joseph, receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree and left guard Kelechi Osemele are questionable but are expected to play.
Here’s a complete injury report for the Raiders and Texans.
Raiders Injury Report
S Nate Allen (concussion), QB Derek Carr (ankle), LT Donald Penn (knee)
OL Kelechi Osemele (ankle), LB Perry Riley Jr. (hamstring), LB Malcolm Smith (hamstring), WR Amari Cooper (shoulder), WR Michael Crabtree (ankle), WR Andre Holmes (shoulder), S Karl Joseph, QB Matt McGloin (shoulder)
Texans Injury Report
QB Tom Savage (concussion), OLB John Simon (chest)