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Darren McFadden expected to play for Raiders

  • Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden (20) stands on the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

ALAMEDA — Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden went through a light practice Wednesday and will play against Dallas on Thanksgiving Day.

McFadden has not played since straining a hamstring early in the first half against Philadelphia on Nov. 3. He has missed four games total this season and 27 overall in five-plus years since being the fourth overall draft pick in 2008.

The Raiders have run the ball much more effectively since McFadden has been out.

Rashad Jennings has rushed for 413 yards and two touchdowns over the past four weeks. The veteran backup has piled up more than 100 yards of total offense in each of the past four games while helping fuel the league's fifth-ranked running game.

Coach Dennis Allen plans to use both against the Cowboys.

"The guy that's in there and being the most effective will be the guy that gets the opportunity," Allen said. "But I see them both getting a chance to carry the ball. We'll see how it goes. We'll play it out as the game plays along."

McFadden said he is still sore from the hamstring injury — his second this season — and added that he needed the extra time off as a precaution.

"To me, I could have been back last week but I just have to take my time with it," he said. "I don't want to. I know if I rush it back again this time it will probably be over for the season. So I want to just be able to make sure it's all the way back right before I get out there again."

Even if he remains healthy the remainder of the season with Oakland, it's questionable whether the 26-year-old running back will be invited back next season.

Slated to hit the free agent market in 2014, McFadden was counted on to be the centerpiece of the Raiders' offense. Injuries and ineffectiveness have dampened expectations, however.

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