Oakland Raiders  

 

Asomugha confident he'll play in Raiders' opener despite injury

  • By Associated Press
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ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Oakland Raiders Pro Bowl cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha will wear a cast on his injured left wrist, but he isn't expected to miss the team's season opener.

Asomugha met with a hand specialist this week after being diagnosed with a chip fracture that he suffered during the first play of Saturday's preseason loss to the New Orleans Saints. Tests confirmed the fracture and also revealed cartilage damage in Asomugha's left wrist.

Nnamdi Asomugha , CB
Oakland Raiders

Career Statistics:
Games/Starts: 92/69
Tackles: 257
Interceptions: 10

"I'll play in the opener, no problem," Asomugha said Tuesday, shooting down reports that he might miss the Raiders' Sept. 14 home game against the San Diego Chargers. "If we played today, it would be a big issue. I wouldn't even be able to go if it was today. But it wouldn't be an issue afterward."

Asomugha, who signed a three-year, $45.3 million contract extension during the offseason, didn't practice Tuesday and won't play in the Raiders' preseason finale against the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday.

Instead, the Raiders will start fifth-year veteran Stanford Routt at right cornerback and Chris Johnson at the left side. Routt had been competing with Johnson in training camp for the starting job opposite Asomugha.

Having Asomugha available to play against the Chargers is a huge plus for the Raiders, whose defense hasn't played very well in the preseason. Oakland heads to Seattle ranked last in the NFL against the run and in overall defense.

In the 45-7 loss to the Saints last week, the Raiders' problems extended to their pass defense as well. Saints quarterback Drew Brees completed 14 of 17 passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns while compiling a rating of 149.8 in less than two quarters of work.

Raiders coach Tom Cable thus welcomed the news about Asomugha and said the team doesn't anticipate having to take it easy with its best defensive player in practice.

"I'm not sure you really have to with what it is, in the cast," Cable said. "He'll be wanting to prepare for that the right way. Based on what we were told, he should cast it and be able to prepare and be ready for the opener."

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Asomugha is expected to wear the cast for six weeks, longer than normal for a chip fracture but necessary because of the cartilage damage.

The injury occurred on the first play from scrimmage against the Saints when Asomugha went low to tackle wide receiver Devery Henderson, who was running a reverse.

"It doesn't feel good," Asomugha said. "When I went low, I just got kicked."

Notes: Raiders rookie WR Louis Murphy sprained his right foot while running a pass pattern and was unable to finish practice. Though Murphy is expected to play Thursday against the Seahawks, Cable said veteran Javon Walker would start if Murphy cannot. ... Safety Michael Huff didn't practice because of a quad injury, and Cable is unsure if the former first-round draft pick will play in the preseason finale.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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