Ron Bartell returns to practice; Barnes, Spencer still out

Raiders cornerback Ron Bartell at 2012 training camp practice - Levi Damien

The Raiders got their number one corner back at practice today. But still not practicing are starting corner Shawntae Spencer and starting right tackle Khalif Barnes.

When Ron Bartell went out the season opener for the Raiders with a broken shoulder blade, he was immediately placed on the partial season injured reserve. The following game Shawntae Spencer was lost to a sprained foot. That had both the Raiders starting corners out for extended periods of time.

But a broken shoulder blade would seem to be far more serious than a sprained foot. And not many would have suspected that the team would be heading into week nine with Bartell back at practice and Spencer still sidelined.

The extended absence of Spencer is reminiscent of Darren McFadden and his Lis Franc injury from last season. In both cases the team kept the player on the roster in the hopes they might return soon. McFadden didn't play again the rest of the season and Spencer's status is still up in the air.

The Raiders were in shambles at corner for the first few games without Bartell and Spencer but luckily Michael Huff has stepped up his game and Pat Lee and Joselio Hanson have followed suit. Now what was once a weakness without a single interception has become a strength with five interceptions in three games.

Bartell won't actually be able to play until the week ten matchup with the Ravens on November 11. Spencer is expected (but we know how that goes) to have returned by then.

Khalif Barnes has also been out for an extended period of time. He too went out with injury in week two. Replacing him as starting right tackle has been Willie Smith. That transition has not worked out as well and Barnes' continues to not practice with his groin injury.

It's possible the Raiders could have all three back by week ten but at this point. But I wouldn't hold my breath. At least Bartell will be back, though.

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