The Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers kick off Thursday Night Football this week at Qualcomm Stadium. The big question for the Raiders entering the game will be the availability of running back Darren McFadden. According to Monday's injury report, McFadden may be watching from the sidelines come Thursday.
Ten Raiders, including McFadden, did not practice on Monday: tackle Khalif Barnes (shoulder), quarterback Jason Campbell (collarbone), cornerback Chimdi Chekwa (hamstring), safety Michael Huff (ankle), kicker Sebastian Janikowski (hamstring), cornerback Chris Johnson (groin, hamstring), McFadden (foot), center Samson Stele (knee), defensive tackle Richard Seymour (ankle), cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke (hamstring).
Recovering players on this list have only three more days until they play the Chargers, making the return of McFadden and others unlikely. Though Oakland is on a two-game losing streak, the Raiders will likely sit McFadden this week so as to prevent further damage. Running back Michael Bush filed in admirably last week against the Denver Broncos as the starter, posting 96 rushing yards on 19 carries in addition to his 33 receiving yards and one touchdown.
Five Raiders were limited participants on Monday: running back Rock Cartwright (calf), linebacker Rolando McClain (ankle), safety Michael Mitchell (ankle), quarterback Carson Palmer (quadricep) and running back Marcel Reese (shoulder).
Though Palmer was limited, he should make his second consecutive start as a Raider opposite of Phllip Rivers on Thursday. Palmer will attempt to win his first victory as a Raider.
The Chargers had five players miss Monday's practice: defensive end Luis Castillo (tibia), guard Kris Dielman (concussion), wide receiver Malcolm Floyd (hip), linebacker Shaun Phillips (foot) and linebacker Takeo Spikes (biceps).
Mathews missed last week's game against the Green Bay Packers. His status for Thursday remains unknown at this point, but the Chargers could very well adopt the same approach that the Raiders are exercising with McFadden and have Mathews sit in order to avoid further injury.
Both squads are 4-4 this year and can gain ground in the tight AFC West race with a win. With or without their starting running backs, expect both squads to play hard as they attempt to climb above .500.