ALAMEDA – Raiders receiver Hunter Renfrow got hit hard trying to make a catch against the New York Jets, with Bless Austin putting a shoulder in his shoulder that he instantly felt.
The Raiders receiver was crumpled on the turf for an extended stretch.
Renfrow said Thursday that time was spent trying in vain to catch his breath. Pain came with the hard hit, but he managed to walk it off and remain in the game.
Had he known then that he broke a rib and punctured his lung, Renfrow would’ve stayed out of that game. He toughed it out instead.
“It wasn’t hard because we were getting beat so bad,” Renfrow said. “In those situations, you don’t want to give up on your teammates. There are injuries a lot of guys play with that people don’t even hear about. It definitely didn’t feel good, but I thought I could finish the game.”
Renfrow spoke right after the game but not since, during a stretch of three games missed with a scary injury. Renfrow said his main issue was catching breaths during the game, but another hard hit from a defensive lineman prompted him to request further examination.
An x-ray at MetLife Stadium came back negative, but a CT scan back in the Bay Area showed Renfrow had a break on the interior of his rib.
Renfrow said he has felt good for some time now, but was allowed to practice more fully with the team Thursday. Now he’s waiting for clearance to play Sunday against the LA Chargers.
“He looks fresh,” offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. "There wasn’t an issue to be honest with you, he’s been able to run out here in the rehab process without any pain, but because of the injury and the rib and where it was at, they were just concerned it could reinjure. But he’s been running now for a couple weeks and has looked very well.”
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Renfrow hasn’t missed much time in his football career. He hasn’t missed a practice since his sophomore year at Clemson and didn’t like not being involved much in recent Raiders work.
“I felt good today,” Renfrow said. “Being able to go out there and run routes after some time away really makes you appreciate it. There are things you can improve while you’re sitting back and watching, but there’s always that itch to get back.”
There’s a drive to get back and find previous rhythm with quarterback Derek Carr. Those two really started to click before Renfrow got hurt, and they’ll have two games to establish old form before the regular season ends.
“I think we were starting to hit our stride a little bit and it’s tough to miss time at that point, but those good things you did don’t just go away,” Renfrow said. “Hopefully we’re building something for a while, so we work on things every day at practice and gain confidence from doing that in games.”