ALAMEDA (CBS / AP) — Raiders free safety Michael Huff’s sore groin has prevented him from fully practicing this week. He insists it won’t keep him out of Sunday’s game against Buffalo.
Huff was limited in Friday’s workout and is listed as questionable on Oakland’s injury report—one of several players whose status remained in doubt when the team left for its cross-country flight Friday.
Unlike starting wide receiver Jacoby Ford, who has already been ruled out with a hamstring injury, Huff is planning to play.
“I’ll be all right,” Huff said following practice. “Haven’t missed a game in my career. Why start now?”
Oakland couldn’t afford to be without Huff for long.
Backup strong safety Mike Mitchell has been sidelined since early in training camp because of an upper leg injury. Jerome Boyd hadn’t even played a regular season game in the league until last Monday night in Colorado.
And Matt Giordano, whose interception of a Kyle Orton pass just before halftime set up Sebastian Janikowski’s NFL record-tying 63-yard field goal against Denver, is on his fourth NFL team in as many seasons.
Huff has played in all 81 games since entering the NFL as the seventh overall pick in 2006.
This season, the Raiders have tried to expand Huff’s role. He’s spent time at cornerback in the team’s nickel packages and is also one of coordinator Chuck Bresnahan’s primary blitzing defensive backs after recording a career-best four sacks last year.
Coach Hue Jackson is optimistic that Huff—who signed a $32 million, four-year deal in August to return to Oakland—can play in Buffalo but declined to say who would start if he can’t.
“It will depend on how we start in the backfield,” Jackson said. “We have some bodies back there if he can’t go. But I feel very comfortable that we’ll have all these issues solved and be ready to play this game.”
Giordano would likely be tabbed if Huff is unable to play.
After being released by Oakland as part of the final roster cuts on Sept. 3, Giordano was brought back two days later and immediately thrown into the defensive mix. He made his debut with the Raiders on national television then picked off an Orton pass near the sideline to halt a Denver drive and set up Janikowski’s record-tying kick.
Bresnahan said Giordano made a similar play earlier in the week during practice.
Even if Huff plays, Giordano and Boyd are expected to play on defense. The Raiders have several formations where they use three safeties.
The news on Ford isn’t as encouraging.
Ford, Oakland’s starting wide receiver who also doubles as the team’s kickoff returner, won’t play because of a hamstring injury suffered in the second half of Monday’s season-opening win in Denver.
It’s a good thing Jackson decided to keep seven receivers on his roster.
The other starter, Darrius Heyward-Bey, is questionable with a sore knee while Louis Murphy will sit out his second straight game recovering from a groin injury.
Chaz Schilens, who has a lengthy injury history, Derek Hagan and rookie Denarius Moore are the candidates to replace Ford on the Raiders’ first team offense. Hagan, Oakland’s leading receiver in the preseason, was inactive for the Week 1 win in Denver.
Notes: RB Darren McFadden (shoulder) and CB Chris Johnson (groin) are probable. DL Richard Seymour (ribs) and TE Kevin Boss (knee) are questionable.
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