Raiders quarterback Carr returns to practice despite hand injury
ALAMEDA, Calif. — Derek Carr took a snap and threw a deep pass to Amari Cooper.
Following some initial concern after Carr was knocked out of Oakland’s season opener with a hand injury, the Raiders are expecting to have their starting quarterback back on the field Sunday against Baltimore.
Carr took part in his first practice Wednesday since bruising his thumb on his throwing hand in the first half of the 33-13 loss to Cincinnati. He said he took about 99 percent of the snaps in practice and was encouraged by how he felt.
"It obviously isn’t 100 percent, but it’s pretty close," he said. "I’m not going to hurt our team and I’m not going to hurt myself further when it’s only the first week and go out and make it worse. We all felt it was good enough."
Carr, who made all 16 starts as a rookie, said he has never missed a game because of injury at any level and doesn’t plan to, either.
He initially feared the injury could be more serious after he hurt himself trying to stiff-arm Cincinnati’s Adam Jones on a scramble late in the second quarter. Carr said the swelling was so bad he couldn’t open his hand enough even to take a snap, and knew he couldn’t play.
The swelling died down by Monday and Carr was able to take the field Wednesday. But he said he has learned his lesson about protecting his hand despite the competitive desire to get a first down in the heat of the moment.
"It’s hard to draw that line," Carr said. "I have to be smart for the team’s sake just to protect us. Get down and get to the next play. I definitely learned from it."
The game didn’t go great for Carr before the injury. He completed 7 of 12 passes for 61 yards and acknowledged being overly amped early because it was the opener, leading to some off-target passes.
The Raiders generated just four first downs and didn’t cross midfield on Carr’s four drives before the injury.
"We were behind the sticks a lot," Carr said. "We just have to be more efficient earlier on. Third-and-longs against teams like that aren’t going to work. Second-and-longs against teams like that, that’s what they’re built for."
The Raiders are also holding out hope safety Charles Woodson can play this week after leaving the opener on the final drive with a shoulder injury.
Woodson was at practice with his jersey but no helmet and was an observer rather than a participant. He is lobbying to play Sunday, and coach Jack Del Rio said it is a possibility. Woodson has not missed a game since returning to Oakland in 2013.
Del Rio recalled when he was an assistant in Baltimore in 1999 that linebacker Peter Boulware played much of the season despite frequently having to pop his injured shoulder back into the socket.
"Guys can play with shoulders depending on the severity of it," Del Rio said. "We’ll see how the week goes before deciding."
NOTES: DLs Justin Ellis (left ankle) and Benson Mayowa (knee) and FB Jamize Olawale (ankle) also did not practice. … The Raiders signed WR DeAndre Carter to the practice squad and released LB Josh Shirley. Carter spent training camp with Baltimore.