ALAMEDA — Darren McFadden missed a third consecutive day of practice Friday because of a hamstring injury, making it all but certain the Oakland Raiders will be without their top running back for Sunday night's game against San Diego.
McFadden has been out of action since getting hurt early in the first half of Oakland's 24-14 loss to the Washington Redskins last Sunday. He is listed as doubtful on the team's injury report.
"He's gotten closer," coach Dennis Allen said. "If he can be effective he'll be in there and play. If he can't be, then he won't be. It's really pretty simple."
Allen said that McFadden's status would be a game-time decision.
McFadden, however, sounded less optimistic when speaking to reporters, saying he still feels pain just from walking.
"You can feel it a little bit. It's tight, sore," McFadden said. "Hamstrings are one of those things you want to be careful with. I'd rather miss one or two games than to come back and pop it and miss four or five."
Given his history of injuries, it's understandable why McFadden is leaning toward a more cautious approach.
He has missed at least three games in each of his five previous seasons in the NFL. Entering this year, McFadden had played in only 19 of the team's previous 33 games.
"We're going to take it day-to-day," McFadden said. "If I come in here and run like I need to (Saturday), then you'll see me out there Sunday."
It was already a frustrating year for the former first-round draft pick<NO1> even before his latest injury.
Although he leads the Raiders with 215 yards rushing, more than half of them came on four carries against lowly Jacksonville on Sept. 15. On his other 49 attempts, McFadden is averaging 2.2 yards a carry, which would be the lowest mark of his career.
That's not exactly the type of impact McFadden had hoped for in the final year of his contract with Oakland.
"I can't even describe it and put it into words," McFadden said. "It's very tough. You want to be out there fighting with the guys. It's just a hard thing you have to deal with."
Rashad Jennings, who filled in when McFadden got hurt against Washington, will start if McFadden is out.
Oakland might also be without center Stefen Wisniewski. Wisniewski also missed a third consecutive practice due to a right knee sprain and is doubtful.
Right tackle Tony Pashos was also downgraded to doubtful with a groin injury.
If neither can play, the Raiders' already thin offensive line will be stretched even more. It's possible, if not likely, that the team will promote Jack Cornell from the practice squad to help the depth.