Raiders getting at least one starter back from COVID list

Sports

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) tries to break a tackle by Las Vegas Raiders linebacker Cory Littleton (42) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

The Las Vegas Raiders will get back at least one of the starting defensive players who missed last week’s game on the COVID-19 list. Linebacker Cory Littleton is set to play on Sunday when the Raiders (6-4) visit the Atlanta Falcons (7-3). Defensive lineman Clelin Ferrell is also a possibility to play.

Littleton returned to practice this week after missing two games following a positive coronavirus test. Backup Nicholas Morrow played well in Littleton’s absence and should remain in the mix this week even with Littleton back.

“We are going to play all our linebackers” coach Jon Gruden said. “We’re going to play a lot of people on defense. We’re still looking for the right combination on all three levels and that’s a big part of the process here this week.”

Ferrell, who went on the COVID-19 list following a positive test last week, has returned and was able to take part in the walkthrough on Friday but might not be ready to play on Sunday. He is officially listed as questionable.

“We’re going to do the right thing here,” Gruden said. “We’ll probably make that decision on the airplane, but Chris Smith deserves to play more. We’ve got to find the right nucleus of guys that can get to the quarterback and we’ll visit on the airplane. But it’s good to have Cle in the building. His status for this game is very much up in the air.”

Right tackle Trent Brown and slot cornerback Lamarcus Joyner remain on the COVID-19 list, but Gruden said he expects Brown back at practice on Wednesday. Brown has missed most of this season with injuries and illness, playing three snaps in the opener and one other game all year.

The offensive line has held together in his absence, but the Raiders would like to have their highest-paid lineman back for the stretch run after he returns to practice next week. “Hopefully we will get him back in the lineup shortly after that,” Gruden said. “No. 1 thing right now is his health and it was a serious matter. Obviously, we’ve done everything possible all systems are go and we’re anxious to get Trent back on the grass with us on Wednesday.”

The only other player on the injury report for the Raiders this week is safety Erik Harris, who is questionable with a calf injury.

NOTES: RB Josh Jacobs is set to play despite a hip injury that limited him in practice this week. … DE Takkarist McKinley, claimed off waivers this week after failing physicals in Cincinnati and San Francisco, was placed on IR but could return in three weeks.

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