ALAMEDA — Running back Darren McFadden inched closer to returning to the Oakland Raiders lineup, though he hasn’t been fully cleared yet.
McFadden practiced for a third straight day and continues to make progress from the hamstring injury he suffered in late September. Raiders coach Dennis Allen sounded optimistic about the former first-round pick’s chances of playing this week against Kansas City.
“I like where he’s at, I feel good about where he’s at,” Allen said Friday. “We’ll see how he feels tomorrow, but I think every day he’s gotten a little bit better.”
Still, McFadden’s status probably won’t be known for certain until Sunday. He is listed as questionable on the team’s injury report and told reporters he’s getting closer to having his usual burst.
“If I haven’t done it, I feel like I’ve gotten pretty close to it,” McFadden said. “I feel pretty good. I’m just looking forward to whatever the decision the coaches and trainers have to make, if we want to roll with it.”
McFadden was injured early in the first half of Oakland’s 24-13 loss to the Redskins on Sept. 29. He did not play in last Sunday’s win over San Diego, marking a sixth straight season in which the veteran running back has missed at least one game.
Even without McFadden, the Raiders put up 104 yards on the ground against the Chargers despite losing backup Rashad Jennings to a hamstring injury.
Like McFadden, Jennings was limited in practice this week and is also questionable.
Oakland might also get right tackle Tony Pashos back after he missed one game with a groin injury.
Having all three back would be a huge plus for the Raiders heading into Sunday’s game at Arrowhead Stadium against the unbeaten Chiefs.
“I feel good about them, but we’ll see how they feel tomorrow and on into Sunday morning,” Allen said. “I feel confident that some of those guys will be able to make it in the game.”
McFadden has had some of his best success against Kansas City. Three of his 13 career 100-yard games have come against the Chiefs, including both games between the two division rivals in 2012.
More importantly, the Raiders have never lost to the Chiefs in games where McFadden has rushed for at least 15 yards.
“It’s a different game every time you step out there on Sunday, so you have to be ready,” McFadden said. “You can’t just look at it like, ‘This is what I did in the past.’ You have to go out there and do it that Sunday.”
Getting McFadden back would likely take some of the pressure off Oakland quarterback Terrelle Pryor, who has never started a game in Arrowhead.
“If the game was today I would do my best to get out there and play,” McFadden said. “I feel pretty good. I’m going out there and do whatever I can do.”
Center Stefen Wisniewski, who missed last week’s win over San Diego with a right calf strain, did not practice and will be held out against the Chiefs. Safety Tyvon Branch has also been declared out.
Notes: Boxing gloves were hung in the lockers of several wide receivers and defensive backs. The message: fight to win the one-on-one battles at the line of scrimmage. ... FB Marcel Reece (knee) was limited in practice but is probable to play. ... LB Kaluka Maiava (hamstring) did not practice, while DT Stacy McGee was limited. Both are questionable.
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