ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Oakland Raiders defensive tackle John Henderson could be sidelined for more than a month with a stress fracture in his right foot, dealing a blow to the team's struggling run defense.
"I think it's big," Cable said. "John was playing well, and the last time really that he played was St. Louis, but we've had good play out of him, so obviously that's a loss. But we'll overcome it."
The Raiders are thin at defensive tackle with Henderson out, with only Desmond Bryant available to back up starters Tommy Kelly and Richard Seymour. Oakland released Jay Alford earlier in the week to make room for linebacker Bruce Davis, who was needed to bolster a banged-up linebacker crew.
Starting weakside linebacker Quentin Groves missed practice with a hamstring injury that could force him to miss this week's game against the San Diego Chargers.
"He's very questionable right now," Cable said. "In another 24 hours, we'll see. Hamstrings are hamstrings. Sometimes a week, maybe two. Sometimes four weeks."
Backup Thomas Howard also missed practice with a knee injury, forcing starting defensive end Trevor Scott to move back to outside linebacker, where he played late last season and during the preseason. Matt Shaughnessy will start at defensive end in Howard's place.
Also, rookie middle linebacker Rolando McClain missed practice because of a death in his family. McClain is expected to rejoin the team Thursday.
The Raiders have had problems on the front seven this season, allowing 249 rushing yards last weekend to the Houston Texans and the second-most rushing yards in the NFL this season. Oakland also recorded no sacks in last week's 31-24 loss.
"I think his training has been good," Cable said. "He's been able to come in and pick it up. Today was good. I liked what I saw. We'll go look at it on film and then go to work here tomorrow and Friday as well."
Davis has played almost exclusively in 3-4 systems, so it is a little bit of an adjustment to fit into Oakland's 4-3 scheme. Cable said Davis can contribute right away on special teams and the coaches will see where he is in terms of the defense later in the week.
"I've learned so much defense in the going on three years I've been in the league," Davis said. "I've had five playbooks, so I know how to break down a playbook and figure it out. I know how to study. The coaching staff here is great. To this point, they've helped me out a lot. I think it will work out."
Davis has ties to the Raiders. His father, Bruce, was drafted by the Raiders in 1979 and played tackle for the team until 1987. He was on two Super Bowl champions and was excited when he heard the news from his son.
"My dad speaks about this place with a lot of pride," Davis said. "I know he's happy that I'm here, and I'm happy to be part of the family now, too."
Notes: OL Robert Gallery, who has missed the past three games with a hamstring injury, worked out on the side Wednesday and is close to getting back on the field for practice, Cable said. ... RB Darren McFadden didn't practice with a hamstring injury. Cable said it wasn't as serious as the one that sidelined McFadden for a couple of weeks in training camp. ... QB Bruce Gradkowski was limited at practice with a shoulder injury, but he said it wasn't a big deal.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press