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Raiders backfield thinned by injuries

  • Oakland Raiders defensive back Taiwan Jones (22) is tackled by Dallas Cowboys running back Lance Dunbar (25) after a kickoff return during the second of an NFL football game on Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Waco Tribune Herald, Jose Yau)

ALAMEDA — The Raiders may have to reach way down on the depth chart to fill out their backfield for Sunday's game in New York.

Darren McFadden is sidelined again, this time with an ankle injury. Rashad Jennings has made progress since sustaining a concussion last week but has yet to be cleared. Not even third-stringer Jeremy Stewart, who is nursing a combination of ankle and knee injuries, was able to practice Wednesday.

That forced the Raiders to turn to a player who hadn't taken a single snap at running back since 2012.

Taiwan Jones, a fourth-round pick who was converted to cornerback during the offseason, practiced with the first-team offense and could conceivably start against the Jets if Oakland's injured running backs aren't able to do so.

"Once I got out there everything started coming naturally, just like riding a bike," said Jones, who is also one of Oakland's top special teams players. "The more reps I got, the more comfortable I was. We've got a lot of backs down ... so just in case. You've got to prepare for the worst."

The oft-injured McFadden has already missed four games this season with hamstring injuries. He came back to play against Dallas on Thanksgiving, but carried just five times for 13 yards and apparently injured his ankle at some point during the 31-24 loss.

The fourth overall pick in 2008, McFadden was unable to practice Wednesday and his status for Sunday is uncertain.

"It's more than what we initially had thought so he wasn't able to go today," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. "Hopefully we'll be able to get him out there soon but I don't know."

Jennings' situation is just as questionable.

The veteran backup leads Oakland with a career-best 588 yards and has provided Oakland's running game with a much-needed boost while McFadden has been out. Jennings, however, has not been cleared to play since getting hit late in the fourth quarter against Dallas after catching a short pass from quarterback Matt McGloin.


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