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

The Mercury News - - Sports - By Matt Sch­nei­d­man mschnei­d­man@ ba­yare­anews­group.com

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.”

ARIC CRABB — STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Oakland Raiders quar­ter­back Derek Carr, cen­ter, stretches out dur­ing prac­tice on Wed­nes­day. He plans to play on Sun­day.

ARIC CRABB — STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Derek Carr said he thought he could have played Oct. 8, de­spite frac­tur­ing his back a week ear­lier.

JOSE CAR­LOS FA­JARDO — STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Nurs­ing a bro­ken back, Derek Carr did not dress for Sun­day’s game against the Bal­ti­more Ravens, which the Raiders lost, 30-17.

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