Teams play games with the injury report all the time, so it’s probably best to not read too much into any specific designation.
And yet, it’s hard to not do a double take on the Oakland Raiders listing Derek Carr as questionable for this week’s game with a fracture in his back. As a refresher, “questionable” means it is “uncertain if player will play,” according to NFL rules. “If a player will not play – whether due to injury or non-injury reasons – that fact must be reported,” the policy says. Let’s ignore for a moment that teams regularly stretch the truth on the injury report.
So the Raiders, at least publicly, aren’t conceding on Friday that Carr won’t play. Carr has a transverse process fracture in his back, suffered last Sunday against the Denver Broncos, and the initial diagnosis was he’d miss two-to-six weeks. Could he really play seven days later?
That seems very unlikely. Even with the optimism about Carr’s quick recovery this week, most of the Bay Area media has maintained that EJ Manuel will start for the Raiders on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. That’s the most reasonable answer. But the questionable designation makes you at least wonder. Carr did a few things during practice on Thursday and Friday.
Derek Carr to Michael Crabtree. Yes, Carr is throwing in practice. pic.twitter.com/8xYdScfGoC
— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) October 5, 2017
Derek Carr practicing for a second straight day… pic.twitter.com/kofcQi9xxs
— Scott Bair (@BairNBCS) October 6, 2017
The most likely outcome is that Carr will be out Sunday – it makes no sense for him to be the backup; either he’s healthy enough to start or he’s not healthy enough and shouldn’t be a Manuel injury away from going in – and then maybe he’s closer to playing next week. The progress of this week, including the optimistic injury-report designation, makes you think he’s trending toward returning sooner rather than later.
After seeing that the franchise quarterback had a fracture in his back, Raiders fans would probably be thrilled if Carr misses just one game. The Raiders won’t even acknowledge that he’ll have to miss one.
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