ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) - The Oakland Raiders are hopeful of having right guard Gabe Jackson in the lineup for Sunday’s game in Green Bay. The prognosis on wide receiver Tyrell Williams isn’t as encouraging.
Jackson returned to practice this week for the first time since suffering an MCL strain in his right knee during training camp. A third-round pick in 2014, Jackson is a cornerstone of Oakland’s offensive line who signed a $56 million extension two years ago.
Raiders coach Jon Gruden sounded optimistic that Jackson will play against the Packers.
“We’re going to listen to him. We’re excited to have Gabe back. Hopefully we’re at full strength with he and Trent (Brown) on the right side,” Gruden said.
The Raiders have done a much better job protecting quarterback Derek Carr this season after allowing an NFL-high 52 sacks last season. But Oakland’s depth up front has taken a hit recently, and Jackson is the healthiest right guard the Raiders have.
Jordan Devey started the first four games in place of Jackson before suffering a season-ending pectoral injury two weeks ago against Indianapolis. Denzelle Good started against the Chicago Bears in London in Week 5 but is nursing a lingering knee injury and missed Wednesday’s practice for personal reasons. Brown, the team’s starting right tackle, was also missing because of a calf injury he tweaked in practice Monday.
“I’m just happy to be back out there moving around, being out there with the guys,” said Jackson, who had to be patient through his lengthy rehab. “It’s the smallest stuff. It’s always a blessing to have limbs or life period, but you don’t really think about what would I do without an ankle or what would I do without a knee.”
Jackson said he initially thought his injured knee would cost him a full season. Then he remembered a conversation he had with his father, Charles, a pastor at Mizpeh Full Gospel Church in Magnolia, Mississippi.
“Before I left and came to camp, he prayed and he told me that God was going to protect me and not to worry about injuries and stuff this year,” Jackson said. “So when it first happened I was like, ‘I’m done for the year.’ But I remembered my dad and said I’m going to trust God.”
The Raiders didn’t put Jackson on injured reserve so the team won’t have to make a roster move if he’s cleared to play.
The situation with Williams is more uncertain.
One of Oakland’s top free agent signings in the offseason, Williams caught a touchdown pass in each of the first four games of the season before being inactive against the Bears with a foot injury.
Gruden said Williams is suffering from plantar fasciitis.
“Whatever that is, he has,” Gruden said. “It’s not getting much better.”
Williams is second on the Raiders behind tight end Darren Waller in catches (17) and receiving yardage (216).
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