Published November 20, 2014
When the Oakland Raiders signed Shawntae Spencer as a free agent in March, coach Dennis Allen and general manager Reggie McKenzie hoped the veteran cornerback could help stabilize a secondary that underwent significant changes in the offseason.
Instead, Spencer has spent more time in the trainer's room getting treatment for a sprained right foot than he has on the field.
He's had plenty of company, too.
The Raiders listed 20 players on their injury report Friday. That doesn't include linebacker Aaron Curry, who is a roster exemption for one more week after spending the first six weeks of the season on the physically unable to perform list. Cornerback Ron Bartell is also on the temporary injured reserve list.
Allen slightly altered Oakland's practices this week to accommodate the injuries, none of which appear serious. Spencer and right tackle Khalif Barnes (groin) are the only players listed as out for this week's game in Kansas City.
"We've got some guys with some soreness," Allen said. "It's just a matter of making sure that they're ready to go come Sunday, so we listed a few of them as questionable."
Defensive end Matt Shaughnessy and backup defensive tackle Desmond Bryant are among the seven Oakland players listed as questionable. Another 11, including running back Darren McFadden, defensive tackles Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly, and kicker Sebastian Janikowski, are probable and likely to play.
Just when Spencer can get on the field remains uncertain.
Spencer, who opened the season with Bartell as the Raiders starting cornerbacks, hurt his foot early against Miami on Sept. 16 and initially needed crutches to get around. He also wore a protective walking boot. Since then, Spencer has made progress but not enough to be cleared to play.
"I'm not in control of the timetable," Spencer said. "Whatever they say is whatever they say. I come to work, do whatever I've got to do, do what they ask. Whenever doc clears me, he clears me."
The situation with Curry is a little bit easier to figure out.
Allen said Friday that the veteran linebacker, who underwent knee surgery in the offseason, has been taking reps with the Raiders defense in practice and is getting closer to returning.
"He's looked a little bit better every day in practice," said Allen, adding that he expects Curry to be added to the 53-man roster by next week when his exemption expires. "That's our anticipation. There are a lot of things that have to happen between now and then."
Bartell suffered a broken shoulder blade in the season opener against San Diego and was placed on temporary injured reserve on Sept. 15 and can return to practice on Saturday. He'll be eligible to play against Baltimore on Nov. 11.
McFadden, Kelly and Shaughnessy are nursing shoulder injuries, Seymour has knee issues, Janikowski a sore groin while Bryant hurt his right elbow in last week's win over Jacksonville.
The rest of the walking wounded included running backs Mike Goodson (hip) and Taiwan Jones (knee), tight ends Richard Gordon (hamstring) and Brandon Myers (knee), linebackers Miles Burris (elbow), Travis Goethel (back) and Keenan Clayton (shoulder), defensive end Dave Tollefson (shoulder), wide receivers Juron Criner (hip) and Rod Streater (knee), center Alex Parsons (back) and safety Mike Mitchell (ankle).
"Most of those injuries are not anything that I would believe would keep us out of a lot of games," Allen said. "The guys are banged up a little bit. We took the pads off of them a little bit this week trying to get some of them back."
Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL