Raiders must start Campbell again after Gradkowski injured

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- One week after being replaced as the Oakland Raiders' starting quarterback, Jason Campbell is back in the lineup. Once again, the question is for how long.

With Bruce Gradkowski sidelined indefinitely after suffering another third-degree shoulder separation, Campbell will be the Raiders' starter this weekend against the San Diego Chargers.

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Beyond that is anyone's guess.

"It's just a situation you have to deal with," Campbell said Wednesday. "Any quarterback doesn't want to be in a situation like that, but at the same time, you can't mope or complain about anything like that."

Campbell has started seven games this season, but he has been pulled from the lineup twice -- in a Week 2 victory over the St. Louis Rams and during a 35-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Nov. 21.

The Raiders didn't give any indication that Campbell wouldn't start last Sunday, but coach Tom Cable instead went with Gradkowski against the Miami Dolphins. Gradkowski threw two interceptions and had a 62.5 passer rating before taking a hit on his throwing shoulder late in the fourth quarter.

Cable initially expressed concern that the quarterback's injury could be season-ending, but an MRI confirmed that Gradkowski has a third-degree shoulder separation, the same injury he sustained earlier in the year. He will avoid surgery and could return this season.

"It seems like my shoulder's still strong to where if I just let it heal right, I'll be all right," Gradkowski said. "I don't see the season being over for me yet. I'm just going to keep preparing, keep rehabbing. I'm thinking a couple of weeks and get back."

Campbell handled the majority of reps in practice Wednesday, and Kyle Boller was the backup. Gradkowski attended practice and even donned a helmet at one point, but he was held out of all drills.

So now it's back to Campbell in the latest switch of a starter this season, whether because of injury or performance. The changes haven't made it easy on the quarterbacks.

"It's a tough situation," Campbell said. "You always want to be in there competing, playing with the guys. At the same time, you understand the coach had made a promise and he was going to stick by his word. You never like to see anyone get hurt in this business. But here I am again, up here, another opportunity to go out here and play. That's what you have to keep your focus on."

The Raiders have scored just 20 points in their previous two games after averaging 38.3 during a three-game win streak. Campbell was at quarterback during the streak, which temporarily moved Oakland into a tie with Kansas City for the AFC West lead.

Now the Raiders are two games behind the Chiefs with the season quickly slipping away heading into Sunday's game against the Chargers.

"This is a big week for us," Campbell said. "We're a team that's trying to get our chemistry back and trying to get things going back in the right direction."

Notes: CB Nnamdi Asomugha underwent a second MRI on his right ankle, and the test proved negative. Asomugha was in and out of the lineup in the loss to Miami. ... WR Chaz Schilens practiced in a limited role, his most extensive work since training camp.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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