The Oakland Raiders have spent their last two first-round draft picks on a quarterback and running back; a pairing that they believe will lead them to glory.
On Wednesday, the pair combined to injure QB JaMarcus Russell, who sat out the day’s practice.
"We wanted to watch him throw, and our trainers watched him," coach Lane Kiffin said. "They just felt that he was struggling a little bit with it. He wanted to keep going. We pulled him out."
Kiffin said he didn't feel this injury would be a long-term issue for Russell, and X-rays showed no problems with the elbow.
Russell said he came out to practice early hoping to loosen up the elbow, but never felt quite right once the session started.
"Just a little soreness from the other day," he said. "I bumped Darren's helmet while he was going to block, kind of full force as I was throwing. I kind of did what I can right now."
Russell stayed on the field after practice and did footwork drills with offensive coordinator Greg Knapp.
Russell said he hoped to be back throwing by Friday, when the Raiders hold two practices. Kiffin said the team will put Russell through some on-field tests at the beginning of practice to see if he is ready to go full bore.
"I'm going to try and get out and practice as much as I can," Russell said. "I really haven't made any decisions about it yet."
After missing all of training camp a year ago in a contract dispute, Russell is being given as much work as possible this summer in order to be ready for the season.
Russell didn't get the chance to show much as a rookie after being the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft. He played catch-up after signing his $61 million contract in the second week of the season.
He didn't step on the field until December, playing as a reserve in three games before starting the season finale against San Diego.
The Raiders spent Wednesday's team session working on late-game situations that will be important for Russell to master once the season begins.
"All these scenarios for him are so important, and the game scenarios and the two-minute situations we went through today," Kiffin said. "He got the mental reps, but it's not the same as the physical reps."
Andrew Walter and Marques Tuiasosopo split time at quarterback, as they battle for the backup position behind Russell.
Both quarterbacks struggled at times, with Tuiasosopo throwing a pair of interceptions during seven-on-seven drills, and Walter being picked off by DeAngelo Hall on the first play of a late-game drive.
"We do have a competition for our second spot at quarterback. So that's the positive way of looking at it. Those guys are getting reps," Kiffin said. "But that's not what we want or need right now. We need to get our No. 1 guy in there, especially with so many new pieces around him—with the new left tackle, the new back, new receivers. Every day's very valuable for him."
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