By Abraham Gutierrez
With the news surrounding Marcel Reece’s failed drug test, the Oakland Raiders are down a Pro Bowler when they travel to Arrowhead Stadium for a Week 17 showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs. Luckily for Raider Nation, it appears that everyone else will be available to play when the Silver and Black try to close out the 2015 NFL season on a two-game win streak.READ MORE: Dungeness Crab May Soon Be Sold Off Boats At San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf
On Friday evening, first-year head coach Jack Del Rio submitted his mandatory injury report for the series clincher. The verdict is that one Raiders player was forced to sit this week’s practices, while three were only able to participate on a limited basis, and finally, only one guy took 100 percent of the snaps in preparation for the Chiefs.
Even though he’s 39-years-old and heading into his final game as an NFL pro, it should come as no surprise that the ageless wonder, Charles Woodson was on the practice field all week despite a dislocated shoulder. It’s almost hard to believe that this is the same injury the former Heisman Trophy winner suffered in Week 1 of the 2015 NFL season.
“You try to stay locked into the routine, but there’s a lot of request to talk about it – ‘how you feel leading up to your last game and this being the last week,’” Woodson said. “You try to separate the two, but it’s hard. I try to go through and do things as I’ve done them through the previous 16 weeks and get ready for the final one.”
Also listed as probable is another key ingredient to a Raiders victory over the Chiefs. Coming into the season finale as one of the leading candidates for Rookie Of The Year, wide receiver Amari Cooper also had his name penciled in this week’s injury report.
The Alabama product has been slowed by a foot injury, and thus, his production has taken a hit in recent weeks. After getting his debut season off to a scorching start, the 21-year-old from Miami, Florida, has registered just eight receptions in his last three games. This includes a two-catch performance in last week’s win over the San Diego Chargers Thursday night, and zero grabs two weeks ago against the Denver Broncos.
“Hopefully,” Cooper said when asked if the extended rest coming off a Thursday night game would enable him to close out the season on a productive note.READ MORE: Separate Truck Crashes Along Interstate 880 In East Bay Foul Morning Traffic
Another one of those key Raiders players that also had his name penciled into this week’s injury report is none other than Pro Bowler, defensive end Khalil Mack. The NFL’s sack leader (15) is listed as probable against the Chiefs and spent limited time on the practice field due to a knee injury.
Nevertheless, the second-year pro out of Buffalo sees the Raiders’ finale as an opportunity to build momentum heading into next season. According to Mack, winning Sunday’s game would help alleviate some of the disappointment of not making it into the 2016 NFL playoffs.
“It’s a huge difference, man,” he said when asked about the difference between closing out the year with a 7-9 record compared to 8-8. “We’re playing for the pride of the program, for the growth of the program, and it would be a great testament to how hard we’ve been working if we finish this last game out with a win.”
Oakland Raiders NFL Week 17 Injury Report & Game Statuses
(WR) Amari Cooper (Foot) – Limited Participation in Practice
(S) Charles Woodson (Shoulder) – Full Participation in Practice
(DE) Khalil Mack (Knee) – Limited Participation in Practice
(CB) D.J. Hayden (Ankle) – Did Not Participate In Practice
(CB) Neiko Thorpe (Neck) – Limited Participation in Practice
Abe Gutierrez’s (Twitter: @GutierrezAbe) passion led him to ditch law school journey in order to launch his own publishing company. His expertise make him a valued addition to Examiner.com, AXS.com and the CBS-Sports family. Some of his work can be found on CBS-Miami (Dolphins), CBS-LosAngeles (Chargers), CBS-BayArea (Raiders), CBS-NewYork (NY Jets), CBS-TampaBay (Buccaneers), AXS.com, aExaminer.com and other online publications.