RAIDERS RUSH THE PASSER
Carr defies six-week prognosis for recovering from back fracture, aims to return to lead team against Chargers after missing just one week
Once Derek Carr heard a transverse process fracture could potentially sideline him for six weeks, he thought, “We’ll see.”
He didn’t even know what exactly the diagnosis meant, just that his older brother David had suffered the same fracture during his playing days. He also knew that as long as he had a say in the decision, he wasn’t missing six weeks.
It looks like he’ll only miss one, according to the words of Carr and his head coach on Wednesday. Carr was ready to play last week, at least by his judgement, but that was the competitor in him trumping a reasonable head. Now it seems more logical to step foot on the field — Tony Romo and Cam Newton only missed one game with the fracture in 2014 — but there’s certainly still a risk for injury. Carr admittedly still hurts, but it’s a risk he’s more than willing to take.
“You know, I think anytime you take a hit like that there’s always a chance for anything,” Carr said. “That’s the risk that we take every time we take the field. It’s a violent game that we play, more violent than people realize just watching on TV. But with that said, it’s a risk every single week. You could get hit. You could break your ankle, too. You
could break your finger. You could do a lot of things. It’s just one of those things. You take a risk every time you go out there.”
There have been discussions about playing Sunday with some sort of protective padding, but Carr doesn’t feel enough urgency to practice with extra protection before hosting the Los Angeles Chargers. He didn’t even expect the diagnosis to be as serious as it was, not standing in the visiting locker room in Denver with what he thought were just bad back spasms. That’s what Jack Del Rio had classified the injury as minutes prior.
On NFL Network the next day, David Carr said his brother was caught off guard by the diagnosis of a fracture that could potentially keep him out a month or more. When Del Rio spoke with his quarterback on the phone shortly before 3 p.m. that Monday, Carr apologized.
“I felt bad because I care so much about this team and this organization that even though I had a broken back, I still felt bad that I couldn’t be out there to help because as you guys know, I sat there for two games last year and had to watch knowing there’s nothing I could do to help,” Carr said. “It is a lonely feeling.”
After losing to the Broncos, Carr admitted in the locker room that he hurt. On Wednesday, he confessed that the pain was even worse than he gave off.
“I’ll be honest with you, it hurt so bad that I was like, ‘I kind of hope it’s something rather than a muscle. I hope my pain tolerance is a little better than that,’” Carr said, “and sure enough it was. When I first hurt it, I was shocked. First of all, I didn’t even know what that was, I think like a lot of people. My brother actually did the same thing. It’s good to have a big brother that has broke his back also.”
All signs point to Carr returning after EJ Manuel’s one-game stint as starter, in which the backup completed 13-of-26 passes for 159 yards, a touchdown and didn’t throw an interception. Carr hadn’t been so stellar prior to the injury either, so it’ll be up to him to prevent a team that’s dropped three in a row from free-falling further.
“We think he’s ready to go,” Del Rio said. “We’ll see how practice goes and monitor as we go through the week, but I think things are encouraging.”
Carr said he’s not restricted in any way; if he was he wouldn’t push as hard as he has to play. We’ll see if that’s the case on Sunday at 1:25.
Call him foolish. Call him a competitor. Just be ready to watch Carr quarterback the Raiders with an ailing back.
“Maybe there’s something wrong in my head that thinks, ‘No, I can come back faster than that,’” Carr said. “I don’t know. I serve a big God. I’m glad that he can help me there.”
Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, center, stretches out during practice on Wednesday. He plans to play on Sunday.
Derek Carr said he thought he could have played Oct. 8, despite fracturing his back a week earlier.
Nursing a broken back, Derek Carr did not dress for Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens, which the Raiders lost, 30-17.