ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) Oakland Raiders defensive end Justin Tuck isn’t fully recovered from the knee injury that slowed him this season. Waking up with a sore neck this week didn’t help, either.
Tuck practiced Friday for the first time since Oakland’s 41-17 loss to the Denver Broncos that dropped the Raiders to 0-9. He was limited in the light workout and is questionable to play in Sunday’s game against the San Diego Chargers.
”I’m seeing him get better,” Raiders interim coach Tony Sparano said. ”The thing this week was kind of a weird thing. We’ll see how it is tomorrow, but he did work today.”
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The 31-year-old Tuck has two sacks and 26 tackles in eight games. He deflected and intercepted a pass from Denver quarterback Peyton Manning last week – just the third of his career.
Still, this was hardly the scenario the veteran defensive lineman envisioned when he signed a $10 million, two-year deal with Oakland in the offseason.
The Raiders’ defense has been a big factor in the team’s winless start. They’re 27th against the run, giving up 130.9 yards a game, and have managed a league-low eight sacks as a unit.
Tuck and fellow defensive linemen LaMarr Woodley and Antonio Smith were brought in as part of general manager Reggie McKenzie’s defensive overhaul in the offseason. McKenzie had hoped the championship experience of the three men would trickle down to some of the team’s younger players.
Instead, Woodley went on season-ending injured reserve after six mostly unproductive games while the 33-year-old Smith, Oakland’s oldest defensive lineman, has 11 tackles in nine games.
Tuck, who won a pair of Super Bowl championships with the New York Giants, has been the most effective of the three newcomers. He missed Oakland’s 24-13 loss to the Arizona Cardinals because of a sore knee, but has been steadily improving ever since.
”He had a factor play (against Denver) every four plays that he played, and he probably played around 45 plays,” Sparano said. ”We’ve used him in a couple different spots, but not different than what he’s done in the past. They’ve had him outside, they’ve had him inside, they’ve had him off the edges.”
The Raiders did get some encouraging news regarding wide receiver Rod Streater, who has been out since breaking his foot against New England on Sept. 21. He was placed on the injured reserve list with a designation to return and became eligible to practice on Thursday.
Oakland’s leading receiver in 2013 with 60 catches for 888 yards and four touchdowns, Streater has not been cleared to practice. But he worked out with a trainer on an adjacent field during Friday’s session.
Once Streater returns to practice, the Raiders have three weeks to either add him to the 53-man roster or leave him on injured reserve.
”He’s done a nice job so far,” Sparano said. ”We’ve still got some time yet, so we’ll see how that goes.”
Notes: TE Davis Ausberry (foot), S Jonathan Dowling (back), LG Gabe Jackson (knee) and CB Carlos Rogers (knee) have been ruled out for Sunday’s game. CB TJ Carrie (ankle) was limited and is questionable.