Raiders RB McFadden returns to practice, ready to face 49ers

NAPA, Calif. -- Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden practiced for the first time in more than two weeks Tuesday and expects to make his preseason debut this weekend against the San Francisco 49ers.

McFadden ran with the Raiders' first-team offense, breaking off two long runs during a team scrimmage and later hauling in a deep pass from quarterback Jason Campbell in a 7-on-7 drill. That was encouraging for Oakland, which lost wide receiver Chaz Schilens indefinitely after the third-year pro had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. No timetable has been set for his return.

McFadden is projected to be the Raiders' No. 1 running back this year, but he hadn't practiced since Aug. 7, when he pulled up with a sore hamstring during the team's morning practice. McFadden sat out Oakland's first two preseason games, with Michael Bush, Rock Cartwright and Michael Bennett splitting the carries in the backfield.

"I felt good. I felt like I was able to do everything that I'm supposed to do," McFadden said after emerging from the Raiders' locker room 45 minutes after practice ended. "I haven't talked about (playing time) with the coaches. But for me, I feel like I'm full go, so I'll hit it full go."

The Raiders are counting on McFadden and Bush to help turn around an offense that ranked 31st in the NFL last season. Oakland was 21st in rushing at 106.3 yards per game and scored just seven touchdowns on the ground.

McFadden, the fourth overall pick in 2008, hasn't played a full season in two years with the Raiders. He was slowed by two turf-toe injuries as a rookie, then was limited to 12 games last season after tearing the meniscus in his right knee.

The former Arkansas star rushed for 357 yards and one touchdown. Bush, the team's fourth-round pick in 2007, ran for a career-high 589 yards and topped the 100-yard mark twice.

Raiders coach Tom Cable said early in training camp that McFadden and Bush would split time in the backfield during the regular season. That remains the plan this week as the Raiders prepare to play host to the 49ers on Saturday, with no restrictions placed on McFadden.

"Our plan right now is to go through the week like normal, that he's back and ready to go," Cable said. "We'll be smart in terms of his workload. Once we get there Saturday, we go play."

McFadden ran pain-free Tuesday, showing a good burst on his two big runs against Oakland's first-team defense. It was on the long pass from Campbell during 7-on-7 drills that McFadden was able to really test his hamstring.

"I feel like it was one of the real tests for me because when we've been rehabbing, we were doing little short bursts here and there," McFadden said. "That was the one thing we were trying to work on, just to see what would aggravate it and what wouldn't. I felt like I needed that extra week just to get my burst."

The news wasn't as optimistic for Schilens, the oft-injured receiver who likely will miss the rest of the preseason after knee surgery.

"I cannot tell you yet as to a timeline, but we'll know here pretty quick," Cable said. "That's what I'm waiting for, for him to get back so we know more. We just don't have any of those answers."

Center Samson Satele won't play against the 49ers this week, either. Satele injured his ankle early during the Raiders' 32-17 victory over the Chicago Bears last weekend. The team initially believed Satele might require surgery, but Cable said that doesn't appear to be necessary.

"It does not look to be serious, but we will not force the issue there," Cable said. "I know I'm going to shut him down this week. There's a chance he could be ready to go, but I'm just not going to push that. I'm not going to do that."

Notes: DE Jay Richardson walked without a limp and said he expects to be ready for the Sept. 12 season opener in Tennessee after having his left knee scoped. ... Alex Daniels is back on the defensive line after a two-week experiment at fullback. ... DT Richard Seymour (triceps), RT Langston Walker (back) and CB Chris Johnson (hamstring) were held out of practice.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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