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Derek Carr: Crabtree is 'juiced and ready to play'

The Oakland Raiders know they will get at least one playmaking receiver back on the field when they face the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday in a pivotal AFC West battle.

Amari Cooper remains a question mark while battling an ankle injury (he's cleared concussion protocol), but Michael Crabtree returning from suspension will give Derek Carr a weapon on the outside.

"It's going to be huge," Carr said of Crabtree's return, via NBC Bay Area. "We've been through this a couple of times this year. Anytime you can get a piece back, it's nothing against anybody else, but those guys are starters for a reason. Those guys got all the reps.

"With Crab coming back, obviously it's no secret. I love throwing him the ball. I love Crab and I think a lot of people know that. So being able to get him back, it definitely helps our team."

Crabtree was suspended for last week's win over the New York Giants. Sans Cooper and Crab, Carr completed 22-of-36 passing for 287 yards and one touchdown. The game plan without the starting receivers, however, was noticeably restricted, with two of the biggest plays coming on receiver screens to Cordarrelle Patterson. Crabtree's return will add a field-stretching element and provide the quarterback a much-needed target in the red zone to open the middle of the field.

After Crabtree was forced to miss last week's game following his on-field fight with Aqib Talib, Carr knows he's getting a motivated receiver on Sunday.

"I know how much Crab is a competitor and I know how much he loves football," Carr said. "I know just from having to miss a game this year because of my back how much that sucks. As much as we work hard and love to compete and be out there with our brothers, I know it just was hurting him because he just likes to be out there. For him to be able to come back, I can pretty much promise you he's juiced and ready to play."

Crabtree's return, coupled with the Chiefs suspending Marcus Peters, gives the Raiders an advantage on the outside --- one that is doubled if Cooper can go. With a difficult end to the season ahead for Oakland (at K.C., vs. Dallas, at Philadelphia, at L.A. Chargers) Sunday's divisional tilt is a virtual must-win for Carr & Co. if they are to keep their playoff hopes alive.

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