By Abraham Gutierrez
As the Oakland Raiders have been preparing for their Week 4 clash with the winless Chicago Bears on Sunday, Raider Nation has been holding its collective breath, and with good reason. That's because earlier this week, it was reported that a trio of Oakland's best defenders weren't able to partake in full team practices due to injuries, putting their gameday statuses in limbo.
Silver and Black Nation can rest easy following the team's final practices on Friday, as Jack Del Rio and his staff delivered some good news in their official NFL Week 4 injury report. Two of the Raiders defensive leaders are expected to suit up as the team looks to extend its surprising win streak to three in a row.
For starters, defensive end Justin Tuck is listed as probable despite dealing with a balking knee. In his 11th season out of Notre Dame, he also appeared in last week's injury report due to the same injury. Nevertheless, the 2-time Pro Bowler, was not only able to start against the Browns, but also recorded a pair of tackles, upping his tally to 11 on the young season.
In just his second year in the National Football League, fellow defensive end Khalil Mack is already considered one of the finest talents in all of football. That's why when his name appeared on the team's NFL Week 4 injury report earlier in the week for missing practice due to a hip injury, Raiders fans freaked out.
After being limited in team practices on Thursday and Friday, Oakland's first-year head coach put everyone's mind at ease with just a single, one-word answer – "Yes," Jack Del Rio said Friday when asked if the team's leader in sacks would play in the Windy City. Through three games, Mack has also recorded 9 tackles and was instrumental in last week's historic win over the Browns, getting on the board with a forced fumble.
The odd-man out in this list of star Oakland defenders injured is none other than 18-year veteran Charles Woodson. Unlike Tuck and Mack, the Raiders free safety has been listed as questionable for Sunday's game at Soldier Field, as he continues to nurse an injured shoulder suffered in Week 1.
Woodson, whose name has been penciled in on the team's injury report for three weeks running, has proven to have the ability to not only play through pain, but also have an impact on a weekly basis. Easily the most beloved active Raider, the former Heisman Trophy winner enters Week 4 of the 2015 NFL season third on the team in tackles (17), and his lone interception is tied for team-high honors alongside cornerback Neiko Thorpe.
On a bit of a sour note, Del Rio divulged that depth could be an issue on defense. Here's a look at the Oakland Raiders' entire NFL Week 4 injury report slate, followed by what John Fox and the Chicago Bears will have to deal with as far as personnel goes:
Raiders Full Week 4 Injury Report & Game Statuses
(DT) Justin Ellis (ankle) - Full Participation in Practice
(RB) Jamize Olawale (ankle) - Full Participation in Practice
(DE) Justin Tuck (knee) - Limited Participation in Practice
(DE) Khalil Mack (hip) - Limited Participation in Practice
(LB) Ben Heeney (hamstring) - Limited Participation in Practice
(RB) Taiwan Jones (foot) - Did Not Participate In Practice
(S) Charles Woodson (shoulder) - Limited Participation in Practice
(DE) Benson Mayowa (knee) - Did Not Participate In Practice
(CB) Keith McGill (foot) - Did Not Participate In Practice
(DE) C.J. Wilson (calf) - Did Not Participate In Practice
Bears Full Week 4 Injury Report & Game Statuses
(WR) Alshon Jeffery (hamstring) - Limited Participation in Practice
(DT) Jay Ratliff (ankle) - Limited Participation in Practice
(P) Pat O'Donnell (right knee) - Limited Participation in Practice
(AB) Jay Cutler (hamstring) - Limited Participation in Practice
(CB) Alan Ball (groin) - Limited Participation in Practice
(DE) Ego Ferguson (knee) - Limited Participation in Practice
(DE) Will Sutton (elbow) - Limited Participation in Practice
(T) Jermon Bushrod (concussion) - Did Not Participate In Practice
Abe Gutierrez's (Twitter: @GutierrezAbe) passion led him to ditch law school journey in order to launch his own publishing company. His expertise make him a valued addition to Examiner.com, AXS.com and the CBS-Sports family. Some of his work can be found on CBS-Miami (Dolphins), CBS-LosAngeles (Chargers), CBS-BayArea (Raiders), CBS-NewYork (NY Jets), CBS-TampaBay (Buccaneers), AXS.com, aExaminer.com and other online publications.
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