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Faltering Raiders expect to get Darren McFadden back this week

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Oakland Raiders

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 04: Darren McFadden #20 of the Oakland Raiders gets wrapped up by Lavonte David #54 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second quarter of their NFL football game at Coliseum on November 4, 2012 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

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Not much has gone right for the Raiders recently, but here’s one piece of moderately good news: Oakland running back Darren McFadden is likely to return on Sunday against the Browns after missing the last three weeks with a high ankle sprain.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that teammates said after Sunday’s loss to the Bengals that they expect McFadden to be back on the field this week.

That could be construed as good news for the Raiders, although the reality is that the absence of McFadden has been far from their biggest problem recently. In fact, backups Marcel Reece and Jeremy Stewart have both played fairly well, with Reece averaging 4.7 yards a carry this season and Stewart catching a team-leading six passes on Sunday. For Oakland, a rough season for Carson Palmer, a lack of big plays from the receiving corps and a woeful defense have been bigger problems than McFadden’s injury.

McFadden was having a disappointing season even before he got hurt, with just 455 yards in the Raiders’ first eight games, and a career-low 3.3 yards a carry. A Raiders team that has lost four straight games by double-digit margins is going to need McFadden -- and a lot of other players -- to play a lot better over the final five weeks of the season.