All along Hue Jackson has remained positive in his belief that Darren McFadden will return before the season is over. With just two weeks left in the regular season time is ticking on Hue’s faith. Of course, should the Raiders make it into the playoffs Coach Jackson will be given an additional week (or more) to see his hopes fulfilled by Run DMC’s return.
Just when it was looking as if Hue’s hopes would go the way of Todd Haley’s job McFadden is rumored to be pushing for a return next week.
According to Adam Schefter, McFadden has been undergoing a series of tests and has consulted a doctor this week in hopes of returning for the season finale against the Chargers. Schefter’s report claims that McFadden’s foot has not yet fully healed so if he does play it will be all about managing pain.
This week McFadden was able to do some light jogging but even that was rumored to have caused him some discomfort.
I can fully appreciate McFadden’s willingness to do whatever it takes to get back on the field. If he’s medically cleared then he should play. However there is an inherit risk.
The obvious concern is doing any long term damage to the injury. Matt Schaub suffered a similar injury and he was shutdown for the season. That should say something both about McFadden’s toughness and perhaps the Raiders’ stubbornness.
The additional concern relates to just how effective he’d be. With nearly three months away from the game it is more than fair to question how much McFadden could contribute to Oakland’s playoff aspirations. His game is real but I would hope Hue would require a test run, like a full participation in practice, before letting McFadden get reps in a game.
From an emotional standpoint McFadden’s presence alone could give the team a lift. However this is football. Unlike Willis Reed’s return in the NBA Finals years ago one man generally cannot elevate an entire football team for 60-minutes of the most brutal professional sport. It’s not like Carson Palmer will all of a sudden make better decisions just because he’s got McFadden picking up the blitz for him.
No matter what ultimately comes of this entire ordeal my hope is that the franchise and McFadden will make the best decision not only for this season but the future as well. We already know McFadden can’t remain healthy for an entire 16-game season. Now we’re learning that Michael Bush isn’t quite ready to carry the entire work load for an extended period of time. Somehow the Raiders must figure out a way to keep their backs healthy and productive while also keeping them content with their roles.