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Mario Edwards Jr practices for first time in pads, hopes to return this season

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As practice began today, Mario Edwards Jr took the field with his Raiders teammates in pads for the first time since leaving with a hip injury in the preseason.

He began practice last week, which opened up the three-week window the team has to activate him from injured reserve.

That window closes on December 26th, at which point the team must either activate him or shut him down completely.

Should they take the entire three weeks, Edwards would return for the team’s final regular season game in Denver on January 1. Obviously, the Raiders and Edwards would love to have him playing in their final three games, but at this point, that’s what Edwards is hoping for.

“If I can then I will, if not, then I’ll hopefully try to get back before the end of the year,” Edwards said Wednesday via the Mercury News.

“I mean, of course, you would like to go out there and play right now. But it’s the long run. I’d like to play this game eight-plus, 10-plus years, so it would make no sense to re-injure something or hurt something else trying to rush back when I could just take my time and let heal naturally.”

The Raiders have missed Edwards’ services this season, but have managed to put up a 10-3 record without him in the lineup. Edwards would strengthen both the run defense as well as the interior pass rush, both of which have been among the team’s biggest weakness this season.

When/if the team decides he is ready to be activated, it will likely not occur early in the week. They have no need to make that roster move until the day prior to the game. For that reason he will not appear on the injury report.