Injuries keeping Raiders rookies off the field

Updated October 10, 2017 - 7:55 pm

ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Raiders can’t claim much medical luck with their rookie class.

First-round pick Gareon Conley remains week to week with a shin injury he suffered in June. Second-round pick Obi Melifonwu underwent arthroscopic knee surgery in late August, sidelining him for at least eight games.

In the fifth game Sunday, a 30-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, fifth-round pick Marquel Lee was carted off the sideline with a right ankle injury. The inside linebacker was diagnosed with a sprain, a source said. He was spotted Tuesday walking in the team’s locker room.

Lee has started each game this season. His 18 tackles rank seventh on the team.

Linebacker Cory James’ status is unclear after exiting Sunday’s game with a knee injury.

Legend loses home

Cliff Branch, a Raiders wide receiver from 1972 to 1985, said he lost his Santa Rosa home to the wildfires that continue to ravage Northern California.

A neighbor reportedly informed Branch that his house was destroyed. More than a dozen fires have forced mass evacuations, destroyed about 2,000 structures and killed at least 15 people, said Chief Ken Pimlott, director of California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Branch, a four-time Pro Bowler, spent his entire career with the Raiders. He told the Bay Area News Group that a fire marshal instructed him on Monday to evacuate.

“First thing I did was grab my three Super Bowl rings, my money, and I left,” Branch said.

Carr en route to return

Derek Carr is back to his normal starting quarterback duties.

On Tuesday afternoon, he saw first-team reps during a walk-through practice. Later, the Raiders announced he will hold the team’s weekly Wednesday news conference, which is reserved for the team’s starting quarterback. EJ Manuel fulfilled the media obligation last week before starting versus Baltimore.

Carr was expected to miss one game from a Week 4 transverse process fracture in his lower back. Coach Jack Del Rio reaffirmed that much Sunday and Monday at news conferences.

Nothing has changed. Carr is in line to start Sunday versus the visiting Los Angeles Chargers.

Cornerback signed

A needed reinforcement arrived Tuesday for the Raiders.

The team, which essentially played Sunday’s game with three cornerbacks, signed Demetrius McCray. He spent the 2013 to 2015 seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars and this offseason with the Seattle Seahawks. McCray has 73 career tackles and six passes defensed in 46 games, including 16 starts.

Cornerback Antonio Hamilton suffered a knee injury on Sunday’s opening kickoff. David Amerson and Conley were inactive because of injuries, so the Raiders were down to Sean Smith, TJ Carrie and Dexter McDonald.

No corresponding move was required to create roster space for McCray. Defensive lineman Darius Latham was suspended for four games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, the league announced Monday.

Notable

— Amerson was listed on the Raiders’ injury report last week with a concussion, not a shoulder injury. But the latter is apparently what sidelined him Sunday. He suffered the concussion Oct. 1 and cleared the league’s concussion protocol by Friday. “The shoulder injury definitely wasn’t ready to go in and hit anybody on Sunday,” Amerson said Tuesday.

— The Raiders swapped practice-squad linebackers Tuesday, signing Deontae Skinner and cutting Boseko Lokombo. Skinner has appeared in 11 games combined with the New England Patriots and New York Giants.

More Raiders: Follow all of our Raiders coverage online at reviewjournal.com/Raiders and @NFLinVegas on Twitter.

Contact reporter Michael Gehlken at mgehlken@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GehlkenNFL on Twitter.

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