Injuries on the offensive line have been far too frequent for the Oakland Raiders this season. Donald Penn has been sent to injured reserve, TJ Clemmings looks to be headed to IR, and Kelechi Osemele has missed three games.
Kolton Miller has also been battling a knee injury for weeks.
But there is finally good news. When Jon Gruden was asked about an Osemele return, Gruden had some positive news.
“I’m getting more confident,” Gruden said Monday. “I was really pleased to see him on the practice field last Friday. He got some work in. I think he’s getting closer, but we’ll know a little bit more tomorrow, obviously. He’s been someone we’ve really missed.”
Judging by what Gruden said, it seems, if not this Thursday, Osemele will be ready to go after the mini-bye week following the game against the San Francisco 49ers.
There is no question how important Osemele is to the team’s success. Everyone saw what Derek Carr looked like on Sunday against the Colts with more time to throw the ball. If Osemele is back, Carr will have more time to throw and that means better performances from Carr will be on the horizon.
However, the improving health of Osemele only matters if he remains on the team throughout Tuesday’s trade deadline. Remember, him re-gaining health is important if Gruden does want to get some value in return for the big man.
“I expect some phone calls to happen in that regard,” La Canfora said Monday on CBS Sports HQ.
So while it is nice to hear Osemele is nearing a return to the field, there is a chance that it will be for a different team.
And that shouldn’t surprise anyone. Osemele can provide a ton of value for a team that can win-now, less so for Oakland as it is unlikely Osemele is a player that will be headed to Las Vegas considering his large contract and that he is nearing 30-years-old.
If Osmele survives the trade deadline and can play Thursday, Oakland’s chances of securing a victory in the last ever Battle of the Bay will be higher as Carr will have a much cleaner pocket to throw from.