Renfrow goes out with rib injury
ALAMEDA » Hunter Renfrow, the rookie who has become one of Derek Carr’s most trusted receivers, faces an extended absence with a rib injury sustained against the New York Jets.
Renfrow returned home on the team charter following the 34-3 loss, and coach Jon Gruden delivered the bad news Monday at his weekly press conference
“Hunter Renfrow hurt his rib,” Gruden said. “He’s going to be out for a while. Big loss for our team.”
According to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Renfrow has a broken rib and a punctured lung. Gruden did not get into specifics.
“I’m not going to get into the severity because I really don’t know,” Gruden said. “We’re looking at his ribs. As soon as I get the official, exact determination I’ll let you know.”
Renfrow went down on a thirdand-2 play, an incomplete pass from Carr in which he was hit by Jets’ cornerback Bless Austin. He spent time gathering himself on his hands and knees while being
attended to by the Raiders’ training staff.
The sixth-round draft pick out of Clemson returned to the game, finished with two receptions for 31 yards and took a second hit from the Jets’ Henry Anderson. Renfrow was slow to rise and in some discomfort, but told reporters afterward he had merely had the wind knocked out of him.
Renfrow is the Raiders second-leading receiver behind tight end Darren Waller with 36 receptions, and his 396 yards receiving trails only Waller (707) and Tyrell Williams (32 receptions, 480 yards). With 53 targets, Renfrow has been the second-most popular receiver for Carr behind Waller.
Wide receiver has been a game of musical chairs for Gruden, offensive coordinator Greg Olson and receivers coach Edgar Bennett since the start of the regular season starting with the release of Antonio Brown heading into the opener. Three receivers who began in the season with the Raiders are no longer on the 53-man roster. Veterans Ryan Grant and J.J. Nelson were released and Dwayne Harris is on injured reserve.
With superior routerunning skills and a feel for working inside, Renfrow will be difficult to replace in the slot. Candidates to replace Renfrow include Keelan Doss, the undrafted rookie free agent out of Alameda High and U.C. Davis, and Zay Jones, an in-season acquisition from Buffalo. Gruden said tight ends Waller and Derek Carrier are also in the mix.
In-season arrivals Jones and Trevor Davis, who came from Green Bay, have yet to gain traction in terms of being a trusted target for Carr on game day. Despite playing 226 snaps in the past five games, Jones has been targeted only 14 times and has 11 receptions for 88 yards.
Davis, who returns kickoffs and punts, had played only one snap in the three games before getting 17 snaps against the Jets. Two balls were thrown to him but neither was complete.
Gruden conceded there was a possibility Renfrow could be lost for the last five games of the season.
“We’ll see the severity of it. We’ll never put anybody at risk,” Gruden said. “There is a possibility. We just need to make sure he sees the people he needs to see and we make the decision based on medical exams. We’re concerned, disappointed. We’ll miss him.”
Raiders wide receiver Hunter Renfrow warms up before a game against the New York Jets on Sunday in East Rutherford, N.J.