According to Raiders head coach Dennis Allen Friday, running back Darren McFadden and defensive end Matt Shaughnessy are fully healed from their injuries that kept them out most of the 2011 season and are ready to return to the practice field in time for mini camps.
Shaughnessy was the first of the two to go down with injury. He went down in week three with a shoulder injury. The team had hoped it wasn't too serious but after a couple weeks in which it hadn't improved, they placed him on injured reserve.
McFadden was in a same situation with his foot sprain. He went down in week seven and each week it seemed like he might return and each week the foot was not healed enough to do so. He should have been placed on IR but according to Hue Jackson, McFadden really wanted to play so he took up a roster spot. The foot injury was eventually revealed as a Liz Frank foot sprain for which players typically are down for the season.
"His foot is better." said Allen. "He was back in town, working out last week, and we got a good evaluation on him. Darren will be ready to go whenever we get ready to kick off the season, that's for sure."
Hue Jackson only made matters worse when he said that, had the Raiders made the playoffs, McFadden would have been back in the lineup. By that point, we had heard that line enough and it had become a running joke of sorts.
Allen also said they will be examining everything to try and remedy the foot injury issues McFadden has had even down to the practice field surface.
Said Allen: "We're looking at... how we can improve in every aspect of the organization, and obviously practice fields is one of the things that we're looking at. Is there something we can do to improve that, and is their a co-relation between the foot injuries and the practice fields. If we can deduce there is a co-relation between the two we'll do everything we can to get them right."
Allen went on to say that he intends for McFadden to be part of this team next season. This would suggest there are no intentions to trade him.
"Not as far as I'm concerned." said Allen. "I think he's an extremely dynamic player. Again, from playing the Oakland Raiders twice last year, they were much more challenging to defend when Darren McFadden was in the backfield, and having that kind of two-headed monster between him and Bush, that was a real challenge. Darren is a vital part of what we're going to try and get done next year.
He went on to emphasize that the Raiders will play to McFadden's strengths as well as other players on the team.
This will help McFadden to thrive in the zone blocking scheme despite his difficulties with it when the Raiders ran it during Greg Knapp's previous stint in Oakland.
When asked about Shaughnessy, McFadden and Jacoby Ford, Allen responded:
"Absolutely, they'll be ready to roll."