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Raiders' Kiffin undergoes more tests, remains hospitalized

NAPA, Calif. -- Oakland Raiders coach Lane Kiffin underwent more tests in the hospital on Tuesday as he missed another practice while recovering from a viral infection.

Kiffin has been at the Queen of the Valley Medical Center since Monday morning for tests and observation. The hospital is not giving out information on his condition and the Raiders have only said Kiffin "hopes to be back soon." He is expected to return in time to coach Saturday's exhibition game against the San Francisco 49ers.

Kiffin, 32, is the youngest coach in the NFL, making his health problems even more of a surprise to his players. Quarterback Andrew Walter said his coach would "have to be pretty sick not to be out here," and the team would try to go on like nothing had changed.

"He brings a lot of energy," Walter said. "We miss having him out here. I hope he's doing better. He definitely sets the tempo for us. He would want us to have good practices even though he's not out here and that's what we're trying to do."

Offensive coordinators Greg Knapp and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan again ran practice, but most of the drills had been planned out by Kiffin well in advance.

Practice appeared to be sharper Tuesday morning than it was the previous day, Kiffin's first away from the team. Kiffin also missed the practice on Tuesday night.

"Training camp is really structured from the get go," Knapp said. "We plan it out before we get here quite a bit. We will tweak it as time goes on. There's a good plan in place so you don't have to have a lot of adjustments right now. And even these first couple of preseason games we're still in training camp mode not in game plan mode. It's planned out pretty well ahead of time with Lane."

Kiffin's absence was easy to hear. He is usually the loudest coach on the field, yelling out instructions and creating competition between offense and defense. He also frequently orders players out of drills after they commit penalties or fumble the ball.

Knapp tried to play Kiffin's role by yelling, "get me a new tight end" after one false start by Tony Stewart, but the atmosphere was clearly different from usual. Even so, the players said Kiffin's influence could still be felt and they know he'll be watching tape of the practices.

"He's done a great job of establishing tempo and establishing what it is that he wants," running back LaMont Jordan said. "I don't think we've missed a beat since he's been gone. He needs to go on, take the antibiotics or whatever it is he needs to take to get back out here to work, we've got a long season ahead of us. I definitely look forward to playing for him."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.

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