Friday, December 30, 2011
Raiders' Jacoby Ford expects to play
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Raiders wide receiver Jacoby Ford made it through a third straight practice without any setbacks and expects to play in Oakland's regular-season finale against San Diego.
That would be a big boost to the Raiders, who need to beat the Chargers on Sunday to keep their playoff hopes alive. Oakland can get in either as the AFC West champion or as a wild card, though it would need help from other teams for that to happen.
It's a game Ford doesn't plan to miss.
"We know what type of game it is, it's a big game," Ford said Friday. "But we're not looking at it as something to put pressure on ourselves. Then you'll be uptight and you won't play loose and relaxed. We're just going to go out there and play the game the way we need to go out there and play."
Ford hasn't played since injuring his left foot after making a catch in the first quarter of Oakland's 24-17 win in San Diego on Nov. 10. The 5-foot-9, 185-pound receiver was averaging 15.3 yards a catch before getting hurt and has been one of the Raiders' two deep threats with rookie Denarius Moore.
Moore, who is averaging a team-high 17.2 yards per catch, also recently returned to Oakland's lineup after missing three games with a foot injury.
The Raiders went 3-3 without Ford, who was hurt after he made a 41-yard reception and was tackled by San Diego cornerback Dante Hughes.
Ford had to wear a protective boot and was cleared to resume running only recently. He's still listed as questionable on the injury report, though the indication is that he'll play.
The biggest hurdle was to make it through a full week of practice after being sidelined for so long.
The prognosis? So far, so good.
"I was able to do some things in practice just to see if I'll be able to do them in the game," Ford said. "It was definitely a positive week for me so I feel good going into the game. If I practiced this much this week and I'm not out there, I'd be mad."
Ford also doubles as the Raiders' primary kick returner on special teams, though coach Hue Jackson is likely to keep him limited to offense on Sunday.
"I don't want to put him in a situation where he can't do what he's accustomed to doing," Jackson said. "I don't know that he's totally there yet, but he's close. The guys that have been returning for us have done a great job, so I'll kind of probably stay in that direction until we get him back totally healthy."
Oakland's defense also may get back one of its key defensive backs.
Safety Michael Huff, who has been out two games with a groin injury, also practiced this week without any significant setbacks. Having Huff would significantly alter how the Raiders defend Chargers tight end Antonio Gates, who has nine career touchdowns in the series between the division rivals.
Jackson sounded optimistic that both Huff and Ford will play.
"It's been three good days for the (and) we'll see where they are tomorrow," the coach said. "But I feel very strong about those guys having an opportunity to contribute to our football team."
Notes RB Taiwan Jones (hamstring) is making progress but is still questionable, meaning RB Michael Bush will again be the primary workhorse in the backfield. Bush needs 89 yards to reach 1,000 for the first time in his career. ... DT John Henderson (knee) is out.