by Levi Damien
The Raiders will be getting back the first of their players with major injuries next week. At least, he will be returning to practice as his place on the Physically Unable to Perform list is up.
Aaron Curry was out the entire preseason with injuries to both his knees. He never recovered the way he or the team had hoped and eventually was placed on the PUP list which meant he would be out the first six weeks of the regular season. That ends following game in Atlanta next week at which point Dennis Allen expects he will be back practicing with the team.
"I think he's made some progress," said Allen. "It's different when you're doing your rehab work as opposed to when you're actually out there playing football. It will be a great deal for us to get him out here, get him working some football, running around doing some football movement and really get back into the swing of what we're doing defensively. Because it's been a while since he's gotten an opportunity to participate."
This in no way signifies that Curry will pay the following week as Allen was sure to point out. It simply means that he will be cleared to practice again.
"We'll evaluate it when we get into it. I'm not gonna set up a timeframe for him. I know that once he starts practicing we got basically a three week window to see where he's at and see if he's ready to play football and if he is we'll activate him. If he's not, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it."
As Allen mentions, he will give Curry a three week window. If Curry has not shown he is able to play or is making significant progress, it could mean he is placed on injured reserve, ending his chances at playing this season.
Curry's replacement has been rookie Miles Burris. He has played quite well in his stead which gives the Raiders a dilemma as well as some options. Do they give Curry back his starting job or allow Burris to remain in the job he has earned. That is the dilemma.
The options are adding more 3-4 looks or replacing the underperforming Rolando McClain by shifting around the linebacking corps. It is uncertain who would be playing middle linebacker in this scenario but Philip Wheeler and Miles Burris are both capable of doing it. Curry played some middle linebacker with the Seahawks but he struggled in that role.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves here. Curry has to be cleared to play first, not just practice. As Allen said "we'll cross that bridge when we come to it."