Raiders RB Murray returns to practice
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray practiced Thursday for the first time since suffering a concussion and is optimistic about his chances of playing against Minnesota.
Four days after being forced out of a game in Pittsburgh following a powerful helmet-to-facemask hit by Steelers safety Mike Mitchell, Murray took part in position drills and showed no lingering effects while taking reps with Oakland’s first-team offense during the 30-minute window for watching practice open to reporters.
”I feel good,” Murray said. ”I can’t make the call on what their plans are, but I know I feel good and I’ve been progressing great through the week.”
It was the second concussion in less than a year for Murray, who leads the AFC and is sixth overall with 630 rushing yards. He missed one game in 2014 after getting injured on Nov. 20 against Kansas City.
Murray called the play by Mitchell a ”good hit” and told reporters this concussion was less severe than the one he suffered last season.
”This one I definitely felt much better immediately,” Murray said. ”Obviously with head injury you need to be careful regardless, but (this is) nothing more major than normal. I slept good, felt good after. All good signs.”
The Raiders need a healthy Murray to balance their offense.
Murray is the workhorse in Oakland’s backfield with 132 carries. No other running back on the team has more than 14.
A sixth-round pick in 2013, Murray has helped revive the Raiders running game after they finished last in the NFL last season. This season Oakland is 18th, averaging 104.6 yards per game on the ground.
”(That) is something that we want to continue to get better at and grow at each week, running the ball,” Murray said. ”Obviously we’ve been doing that and doing it well.”
While it appears Murray will be good to go against Minnesota, offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said the Raiders have been giving the other running backs additional work in practice this week.
”We have to do a good job of making sure those guys are prepped,” Musgrave said. ”Those guys all have dominant traits that we like to play to their strengths. I think all five guys have scored after eight games, all five running backs. So we have a lot of confidence in each and every one of them.”
Rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper also practiced without limitations after sitting out Wednesday with a quadriceps injury in a precautionary move. Cooper, who leads all rookies in catches and receiving yardage, looked fine as he sprinted downfield and hauled in a long pass from quarterback Derek Carr.
Notes: Tony Bergstrom practiced at center with the starting offense while Rodney Hudson sat out his second consecutive day with an ankle injury. Bergstrom has never started at center in the NFL during his four-year career. … Rookie safety Tevin McDonald was waived, likely to make room for Nate Allen who has been practicing and is expected to come off the injured reserve this week. … Charles Woodson (shoulder) returned to practice after a day off.
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