The Oakland Raiders are relieved running back Mike Goodson’s neck injury isn’t too serious. When they get him back on the field remains to be seen.
Goodson sat out of practice Wednesday with lingering soreness, a day after being hospitalized with a neck injury following a scary training camp hit.
”We care about all of these guys,” coach Dennis Allen said. ”Nobody wants to see anybody get hurt especially something as serious as a neck injury. The fact that everything came back fine was obviously very relieving to all of us.”
Allen said he didn’t know when Goodson will be back but does not anticipate it taking as long as a few weeks.
Goodson and Taiwan Jones were expected to compete for time as Darren McFadden’s backup in Oakland. But with Jones also sidelined with a hamstring injury, former practice squader Lonyae Miller will get a chance to shine in the exhibition opener on Monday night against Dallas.
”I would expect that he would be tired after Monday night’s game,” Allen said.
Miller signed with Dallas as an undrafted free agent out of Fresno State in 2010. He rushed for 2,062 yards and 20 touchdowns in four seasons at Fresno State but has no carries in the NFL.
He spent most of his first season on the practice squad, playing four late-season games mostly on special teams. Miller joined Oakland’s practice squad last December but never made the active roster.
”I’m just trying to take everything day by day,” he said. ”I’m just trying to take every moment like now we just finished practice and now it’s lunch. Just stuff like that. Just trying not to get too far ahead of myself. That’s the way I take it. That’s the way I approach it.”
With the Raiders (No. 23 tie in the AP Pro32) having lost big back Michael Bush to Chicago in free agency in the offseason, they are looking for a physical, short yardage back to complement McFadden.
Fullback Marcel Reece got some carries in practice Wednesday and could fill that role this season but Miller also could be an option if he has a strong camp.
”I’ve been impressed with what Lonyae’s been able to do,” Allen said. ”He’s a different type of back than the other backs that we’ve got. He’s a little bit more of a downhill, pounder type guy. He doesn’t have quite the same explosiveness as those other guys but he’s been a consistent runner. What I’ve seen and what he’s done in the zone scheme is, he’s understood what his reads are, he’s made the proper reads, got his pads downhill and made some yards.”
Goodson was taken away from practice Tuesday by ambulance with a possible neck injury after an on-field collision with teammate Philip Wheeler. The 25-year-old Goodson lay prone on the turf for about 15 minutes as teammates and trainers rushed over. Paramedics and firefighters arrived shortly thereafter, and Goodson appeared to move his legs and arms.
Goodson had movement in his extremities and a CT scan and MRI both came back negative. Goodson returned to the team hotel Tuesday night in a relief for his teammates and coaches.
”You never want to see somebody go down. That’s a tough situation,” said cornerback Ron Bartell, who missed most of last season with a neck injury. ”I can definitely sympathize with what he was feeling at the time. I’m just glad to see that he’s OK. It was a scare to all of us. It’s a bad part of the game, you know, it’s what we sign up for. You never want to see that happen. But we understand that it is always that possibility, it’s what we do.”
Goodson was attempting to catch a pass from Carson Palmer during a passing drill when he was leveled by Wheeler with a hit that could be heard at the opposite end of the field.
Allen said after watching the tape of the hit he determined it was not a helmet-to-helmet infraction.
”It was a little bit of a freak deal,” Allen said. ”Mike kind of ducked a little bit. Phillip kind of led with his shoulder a little bit and kind of lunged at him. It’s things that happen in the game of football. It’s an unfortunate occurrence. Fortunately Mike is fine and we move on from it.”
Notes: Allen decided not to practice in pads Wednesday to ease up a bit on the players. … WR Darrius Heyward-Bey was slow to get up after an awkward fall late in practice but returned shortly after. … K Sebastian Janikowski (illness) and DE Jack Crawford (foot) were among the other players sitting out. … The Raiders will be off on Thursday.