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RAIDERS
McFadden returns to practice field
Running back expected to make preseason debut vs. 49ers on Saturday

NAPA — Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden practiced for the first time in more than two weeks Tuesday and expects to make his preseason debut this weekend against San Francisco.

McFadden ran with the Raiders’ first-team offense, breaking off two long runs during a team scrimmage then later hauling in a deep pass from quarterback Jason Campbell in a 7-on-7 drill.

That was encouraging for Oakland, which lost Chaz Schilens after the third-year receiver had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. No timetable has been set for his return.

McFadden is projected to be the Raiders’ No. 1 running back this year but had not practiced since Aug. 7 when he pulled up with a sore hamstring during the team’s morning practice. McFadden sat out Oakland’s first two preseason games while Michael Bush, Rock Cartwright and Michael Bennett split the carries in the backfield.

“I felt good, I felt like I was able to do everything that I’m supposed to do,” McFadden said after emerging from the Raiders’ locker room 45 minutes after practice ended. “I haven’t talked about (playing time) with the coaches. But for me I feel like I’m full go so I’ll hit it full go.”

The Raiders are counting on McFadden and Bush to help turn around an offense that was 31st overall in 2009. Oakland was 21st in rushing at 106.3 yards per game and scored only seven touchdowns on the ground.

McFadden, the fourth overall pick in 2008, hasn’t played a full season in two years with the Raiders. He was slowed by a pair of turf toe injuries as a rookie, then was limited to 12 games last season after tearing the meniscus in his right knee.

The former Arkansas star rushed for 357 yards and one touchdown. Bush, the team’s fourth-round pick in 2007, ran for a career-high 589 yards and topped the 100-yard mark twice.

Coach Tom Cable said early in training camp the two would split time in the backfield during the regular season. That remains the plan this week as the Raiders prepare to host San Francisco on Saturday, with no restrictions being placed on McFadden.

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