By Abraham Gutierrez
On Friday, Jack Del Rio and his coaching staff revealed Week 8's NFL injury report, consisting of six players, and coincidentally, they are all part of the team's defensive unit. But there's no need to fear, Raider Nation, because reports also indicate that only a single defender has been ruled out of Sunday's home game against the dangerous New York Jets.
After failing to participate in practice all week, (outside) linebacker Neiron Ball will be forced to watch from the sidelines as he continues to recuperate from a knee injury. The rookie out of the University of Florida was beginning to get acclimated with his role as the Raiders' second-string outside linebacker behind Malcolm Smith.
However, all indications are that the 23-year-old from Jackson, Georgia, will be out for about a month after injuring his knee during the second quarter of last week's (37-29) win over the San Diego Chargers. On Monday, the Raiders' fifth-round pick underwent an MRI in his knee, luckily revealing he only suffered a strain.
Nevertheless, Del Rio and his crew went to work immediately, working out a pair of linebackers on Wednesday to help fill the void left by Ball's injury. According to various reports, Oakland tried out former Seahawks fifth-rounder Korey Toomer, and undrafted linebacker Dyshawn Davis - signed to practice squad - to help provide some depth at that position.
"We always want to talk about practice being very competitive," said Raiders' defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr. "The central theme is competition. If players who haven't been playing want to play, they have to practice really well. They have to show us in practice, in the meeting rooms. They can't just wait and hope someone gets hurt. You have to really work at it and prove that we can trust you and you can minimize the mistakes while you're out there. So this is a big practice week for the guys to step up if they want to play."
As stated abovce, there were five additional players whose injuries were severe enough to land their names on Oakland's Week 8 IR. That said, everyone is expected to play, which is great news for a Raiders team that's going to have its hands full trying to contain Jets power running back, Chris Ivory.
The most notable name on the team's Week 8 injury report is none other than the heart and soul of this defense, (free safety) Charles Woodson. It's hard to believe that the 39-year-old superstar has been battling the same (dislocated) shoulder injury he suffered back in Week 1, but has yet has yet to miss a game this season.
According to the report, the former Heisman Trophy winner, who was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Month, is also dealing with a bummed knee. This week, as the Raiders prepared to face the Jets, the future first-ballot Hall of Famer spoke to reporters about his ability to play through pain this late in his NFL career.
"I feel like, just get me to Sunday," Woodson said. "If you get me to Sunday, I'll be all right."
The eight-time Pro Bowler has shown no signs of slowing down, coming into Week 8 as the team-leader in interceptions with four, which is also good enough for a three-way tie for first place in the National Football League alongside Josh Norman (Panthers) and Mike Adams (Colts).
"I want to be an example to everyone who is watching," Woodson added…. "If I wasn't making plays, I wouldn't still be around. That's for sure. It's a great feeling."
Oakland Raiders NFL Injury Report & Game Statuses (Week 8)
(DT) Denico Autry (Concussion) - Full Participation in Practice
(CB) Keith McGill (Foot) - Limited Participation in Practice
(CB) T.J. Carrie (Shoulder) - Limited Participation in Practice
(S) Charles Woodson (Shoulder/Knee) - Did Not Participate In Practice
(DT) Justin Ellis (Ankle) - Full Participation in Practice
(LB) Neiron Ball (Knee) - 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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