ALAMEDA (AP) — Oakland Raiders running back Maurice Jones-Drew missed his second straight practice with a right hand injury, putting his status for Sunday’s home opener against Houston in doubt.
With Jones-Drew sitting out once again on Thursday, Darren McFadden and Latavius Murray shared the running back duties in practice.
Jones-Drew said he had a “minor procedure” done on his hand and does not consider the injury serious. Jones-Drew hurt a finger in a preseason game against Detroit last month and says the injury has lingered the past few weeks before getting worse in the season opener against the New York Jets.
Jones-Drew had a bandage on his swollen hand. He said he could carry the ball in his left hand if necessary but that other aspects of playing would be more difficult.
“It’s more than that,” he said. “It deals with blocking. You have to be able to use both hands and block, obviously catch the ball. You want to be able to protect your quarterback as well as yourself. There’s a lot of things that go into it.”
Coach Dennis Allen refused to answer any questions about the injury or Jones-Drew’s status for Sunday, saying only that he did not practice on Thursday.
While no decision has been made about whether Jones-Drew will play against the Texans, offensive coordinator Greg Olson is already preparing for his absence.
“Last week we wanted to see Maurice Jones-Drew in a full-time role,” Olson said. “This week, I don’t know if we’ll see that. We’ll start with Darren and it probably will be more series wise with Latavius and Darren.”
Jones-Drew struggled in his Raiders debut, rushing for 11 yards on nine carries. Jones-Drew actually had negative yards for the game before a 12-yard run on his final carry in the closing minutes.
In all, the Raiders were held to 25 yards on 15 carries in the 19-14 season-opening loss to the New York Jets after spending the offseason vowing a return to a power-running team.
“I wasn’t happy with the end result,” Allen said. “But I thought overall if we had been able to continue to run the ball I think we would have had some success doing that. We got away from it a little bit. I still feel confident that we’ll still be able to run the football and run the football effectively.”
McFadden is seeking a resurgence this season after averaging just 3.3 yards per carry the past two years — second lowest in the NFL to Rashard Mendenhall.
McFadden had just four carries in the opener for 15 yards as he got limited playing time behind Jones-Drew.
“You want to get a few carries to get yourself going pretty good,” he said. “But we didn’t have many offensive plays, we didn’t get many carries, so it was one of those deals where we just have to come back next week and try to improve on it.”
The injury also could give Murray a shot at his first NFL carry. Murray, a sixth-round pick out of Central Florida in 2013, sat out his entire rookie season with an ankle injury.
Murray showed signs in the preseason of being a capable power back, but only played on special teams in his first game as a pro last week against the Jets.
“I’m very eager,” he said. “It’s a big opportunity for me definitely to go out there and show these guys that I’m capable of getting the job done, especially if a guy goes down they can know that I’m ready to step up. I’m excited, especially with being out last year and this being the first game, the first real game, regular-season game, that I can go out there and see some action at running back.”
NOTES: CB Chimdi Chekwa (knee) was a full participant in practice and could be ready to regain his job as third cornerback. ... LB Nick Roach remains limited nearly three weeks after sustaining a concussion in an exhibition game. Roach still has not been cleared to play in a game.