NAPA — Wide receiver Jacoby Ford sprinted downfield and caught a pass in stride. Not far away, Vance Walker and the rest of the Oakland Raiders defensive linemen went through their normal daily positional drills.
Right guard Mike Brisiel was on the field, too, doing limited individual work. Backup cornerback Chimdi Chekwa also returned after missing a day.
Slowly but surely, the Raiders’ list of injured players who are unable to practice is getting shorter.
Even first-round draft pick D.J. Hayden, limited through the first four weeks of training camp after undergoing abdominal surgery in the offseason, was given the green light in full pads on Monday.
“First day back, it felt good to get back out there,” said Ford, who practiced for the first time in nearly two weeks after being out with a strained hamstring. “I kind of took my time this time coming back. It didn’t grab or anything so it definitely was a positive day for me.”
Ford, who missed all of 2012 with a foot injury, sat out a week of practice earlier in camp then made a brief return before limping off the field again on Aug. 7.
After the speedy wide receiver made it through two days of rehab without a setback, he was cleared to return and showed no lingering effects.
Ford ran without pain during the 30-minute span when practice was open to reporters and repeatedly flashed the burst that allowed him to average 18.8 yards a catch as a rookie.
“Before, it was kind of hard to accelerate and I was a little bit more timid,” Ford said. “Now I’m just 100 percent full go. I wanted to go do a little more (but) they kept holding me back. They definitely did a good job with that.”
Walker’s return to practice is even more critical for Oakland.
The Raiders defensive line has been decimated by injuries this season. The four projected starters — tackles Walker and Pat Sims, and defensive ends Lamarr Houston and Jason Hunter — haven’t practiced together once.