When Rod Streater went down with a broken foot in week three, the Raiders knew he would be out at least six weeks. Tyvon Branch also went down with a broken foot that week and so the team had a decision to make. They are allowed just one player on IR: Designated for Return. They chose to shut down Branch for his second straight season and designate Streater for return.
That designation puts the player out of commission for at least 8 weeks. That 8 weeks passes two weeks ago and yet still no Streater in the lineup. After two weeks of practice, it looked like a good bet Streater would finally be activated for the final three games of this season. That plan was upended when he began suffering from soreness and has missed the first two of three practices this week.
With so little of the season remaining, the obvious question becomes whether it would be better to just shut Streater down completely. Sparano was asked about the possibility that he may have to make that decision pretty soon.
"There's concern, yeah." said Sparano. "He was sore and did not practice yesterday or today. He's been sore and Reggie [McKenzie] and I will visit about that but we'll make that decision here, probably real soon."
They would have to make that decision soon. By next week they won't have a choice. Teams have three weeks from the day a player is first eligible to return to either activate him or place him on injured reserve the remainder of the season.