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Amerson questionable after return to practice
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ALAMEDA (AP) — Raiders cornerback David Amerson practiced for the first time this week and is expected to play Sunday against Carolina.

Amerson was limited and spent part of Friday’s workout taking reps with the Raiders’ first-team defense. He is listed as questionable on the team’s injury report and is likely a game-time decision, though coach Jack Del Rio sounded optimistic about Amerson’s status.

“He did a little bit today,” Del Rio said Friday. “He hadn’t done much before this, so we still have a question mark on him.”

Amerson had been sidelined with a knee injury suffered during Oakland’s 27-20 win against Houston in Mexico City on Monday. The veteran cornerback is tied for second on the team with two interceptions and is third in tackles behind linebacker Malcolm Smith and rookie safety Karl Joseph.

The Raiders took a cautious approach with Amerson this week in hopes of having him available against the Panthers.

Sean Smith, the team’s other starting cornerback, has been in and out of the lineup with a shoulder injury. Smith missed most of Oakland’s Week 8 win over Tampa Bay and was held out the following week against Denver before returning against Houston.

While both are expected to play — Smith practiced without restrictions this week — the Raiders are still 29th in total defense and 28th overall against the pass. That’s why many people, despite Oakland’s 8-2 record and having a slight edge on New England in the race for home-field advantage, are hedging their bets on the Raiders’ playoff chances.

With Cam Newton and Carolina coming to town this week, Oakland will need all the healthy bodies it can get. The reigning NFL MVP has passed for 11 touchdown and nearly 2,200 yards and is second among quarterbacks with 268 rushing yards and four touchdowns.

“You have to treat him like a running back or a fullback even,” Amerson said. “If you’re going to tackle him you definitely have to bring it with you, whether it’s going low or hitting him like a regular running back. He’s somebody that’s hard to bring down because of his physical ability and physicality period.”

NOTES: Wide receiver Michael Crabtree (ankle), running back Latavius Murray (ankle), center Rodney Hudson (knee), left guard Kelechi Osemele (knee), defensive tackle Stacy McGee (ankle), linebacker Perry Riley Jr. (hamstring) and reserve safety Keith McGill (abdomen) were all limited and questionable. Rookie linebacker Shilique Calhoun (knee) is out.