The off-season and training camp is pretty long for an NFL player. It gets longer when that player gets injured. Rookie Latavius Murray has watched his teammates practice since going out with injury on day five of camp.
Being out any time can be hard for a rookie. Being out a week means a lot of missed reps and sets back the learning process. It also stunts the momentum of being in game shape.
"I've been out for a little while," said Murray. "Just getting into the groove, the speed of the game, just kinda making sure I go out there and not go too hard and just make sure I just get. . . good reps and solid reps and make sure I'm not overdoing it. . . They said just make sure I'm being smart. Just don't go out there and just go crazy. But I feel fine, I felt good, and I think I'm back to 100%."
Missing a preseason game would be equally difficult. So, it was important that he return by the final full practice before the team's first preseason game.
The team has a lot of players back from injury today in the hopes of having them available for the game Friday. The risk you run is that those players may not be quite ready to return. That turned out to be the case with Menelik Watson and Pat Sims who returned to practice today but both left after re-aggravating their injuries.
Luckily for Murray, he made it through practice without issues. Easing back into things is important. Come Friday, there will be no more transition. No more plays in which the defense is not allowed to take a player to the ground. It will be real and Murray will be a good part of it.
The big rookie back is not one to shy away from contact. He can't wait.
"I'm excited man," said Murray. "It's been awhile since I played against another opponent as far as not being on my own team since back in college so I'm excited to go out there and play. It being now at this level, I'm anxious."
He says the coaches have been working with him to lower his pads more to keep him from taking as much punishment in the lower body area. They need him to stay healthy if/when Darren McFadden goes out with injury. For health reasons, Dennis Allen said Murray and the others returning from injury will be limited in the game.
That being said, with Darren McFadden always limited in preseason, we should still get a pretty good dose of Latavius Murray along with Rashad Jennings, Jeremy Stewart, and Deonte Williams. And Raiders fans will finally get to see what we have been raving about since OTA's.