By Ryan Leong
Veteran defensive tackle Richard Seymour is scratched once again. He hasn’t played since November 4, suffering from lingering knee and hamstring injuries.
“I definitely wanted to gut it out,” Seymour said, “But it isn’t a situation where you can — you can’t gut a hamstring out. It isn’t like you can tape a shoulder up or tape an elbow, or one of those deals. A hamstring, it ain’t like you can say, OK. It’s totally different from that standpoint.”
Despite his injury, Seymour says he is still loyal to the Raiders.
“One of the most disappointing things for me is being a team leader and not being out there with my teammates,” Seymour said. “That’s the most disappointing part because I bleed silver and black.”
He is a free agent at the end of season and feels he has a lot left in the tank to be a key contributor.
“When healthy, I still play at an elite level,” Seymour said. “That’s one of the things that, the film speaks for itself.”
But even when he has played, he’s been a non-factor. This season he only has 12 solo tackles and 15 total on the season, with three sacks. He is out for Sunday’s game against Carolina and did not practice at all this week.
Safety Tyvon Branch has also missed two days of practice and was limited in Friday’s final tune up. Branch has an ankle injury and is a game time decision like he was last week against the Chiefs. Raiders head coach Dennis Allen expects Branch to take a pain-killing shot and be able to play on Sunday.
“He had to take a shot to help him make it through the game,” Allen said, “And anytime you do that, you’re a little more sore when you come back. He’s a warrior, though. He’s a battler. He’s a fighter. He’s going to be out there if he can.”
On the injury front for the Panthers, this might mark the return of running back Jonathan Stewart for the first time in nearly a month. Stewart has been out since suffering a high ankle sprain in Week 12 against Philadelphia. Friday’s limited practice session was the first time on the field for Stewart since that injury. He has been listed as questionable for Sunday’s game.
Panthers head coach Ron Rivera is most concerned with Stewart’s lateral movement when running. “That’s the thing that you always worry about with a running back because he has to stick his foot in the ground and make that cut,” Rivera said. “We’ll see how he is and how he reacts to being out there (in practice).”
Starting center Geoff Hangartner has a foot injury, not practiced all week, and is doubtful. He sat out last week with Jeff Byers taking his place.
Right tackle Byron Bell and reserve center/guard Thomas Austin returned to practice Friday after both were ill earlier in the week and missing Wednesday and Thursday practices. Starting right guard Garry Williams sat out Friday with the same illness and is questionable.
C/G Thomas Austin (illness), T Byron Bell (illness), DE Charles Johnson (not injury related), WR Brandon LaFell (toe), DT Dwan Edwards (wrist)
RB Jonathan Stewart (ankle), G Garry Williams (illness)
C Geoff Hangarner (foot)
CB Philip Adams (concussion), T Khalif Barnes (triceps), TE Richard Gordon (biceps), S Mike Mitchell (neck)
S Tyvon Branch (neck/ankle), WR Juron Criner (hip)
DT Richard Seymour, (knee/hamstring)
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Ryan Leong has reported on over 2,800 games in the Bay Area since 1998, covering the Sharks, Giants, A’s, Warriors, 49ers, Raiders and the local college teams for radio networks and wire services. Having the best seat in the house to watch sports has been a thrill and Ryan still enjoys going to the games giving fans some insight and perspective on the players and coaches. His work can be found on Examiner.com.