McFadden was not at Wednesday's walkthrough and has not practiced at all since injuring his right foot in the first quarter of the Raiders' 28-0 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Oct. 23. The NFL's leading rusher through the first month of the season has been wearing a walking boot all week and has also needed crutches to get around.
"That mid-foot sprain is really something," Raiders coach Hue Jackson said. "You have to get back to walking first before you can do anything, so my main thing is to get him out of that walking boot first. That would be huge progress, and I think he's closer to having that happen."
Michael Bush, who rushed for 96 yards in the loss to Denver this past Sunday, will start in place of McFadden against the Chargers in a critical game for these longtime division rivals.
McFadden did not accompany the Raiders on their flight to Southern California following Wednesday's practice. He stayed behind to get treatment, and Jackson remains hopeful he'll get his best offensive weapon back on the field soon.
Because Oakland will have nine days between games following Thursday's matchup with San Diego, McFadden should also benefit from the extra rest.
Without McFadden to anchor the offense, Jackson acknowledged the Raiders have to be more creative in order to break their two-game losing streak but said keeping control of the ball is an even bigger factor.
"Whenever you don't have your best player it never makes it easier," Jackson said. "If you look at the numbers from a week ago, you're happy with the numbers (but) you're not happy with the points. What we have to do is be very consistent in taking care of the football."
Oakland has a litany of other injuries beyond McFadden's.
Several other players, including kicker Sebastian Janikowski (hamstring), defensive tackle Richard Seymour (ankle) and safety Michael Huff (foot) are questionable, though Jackson believes most, if not all, will play.
"I think everybody's going to be OK," Jackson said. "We'll be fine."
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh and WR Jacoby Ford spent part of practice doing defensive back drills with Hall of Famer Willie Brown. ... If Janikowski can't play, the Raiders will have to scramble for a kicker. Dave Rayner, who filled in for Janikowski in Week 7 against Kansas City, was signed by the Buffalo Bills earlier this week.