Raiders WR Michael Crabtree expected to miss Broncos game

DENVER — It seemed a potentially ominous sign Friday when the Raiders held out Michael Crabtree from a light practice.

A far more ominous one came Saturday.

The Raiders wide receiver indeed appears poised not to play Sunday against the Denver Broncos. He was downgraded from questionable to doubtful on the team’s official injury report. Crabtree suffered a chest ailment in the fourth quarter last Sunday against the Washington Redskins.

Crabtree was a limited participant in Wednesday’s and Thursday’s practices.

It’s unclear if he suffered a setback during the week or simply determined he wouldn’t be able to contribute under such short turnaround from the shot he took to his left side. The play came on a third-down incompletion. Crabtree did not return.

He leads the Raiders with 13 catches for 170 yards and three touchdowns.

The team has two wide receivers on its practice squad in Keon Hatcher and Isaac Whitney. Neither was promoted Saturday, so the Raiders will roll into their AFC West matchup with Amari Cooper, Seth Roberts, Cordarrelle Patterson and Johnny Holton at wide receiver against arguably the NFL’s top secondary.

The Raiders figure to work to involve Cooper early.

He has sputtered to start the season, leading the NFL with six drops. He averages the fewest yards per game (35.5) against Denver than any other NFL opponent that he’s faced multiple times. In four career games versus the Broncos, he has 14 catches for 142 yards and one score.

Family ties

Last Saturday, a development involving son Luke was the highlight of Raiders coach Jack Del Rio’s weekend. This Saturday brought a far heavier tone.

The Florida Gators quarterback made his first start of the season. But in the first half, the redshirt junior fractured his collarbone on a hit from a Vanderbilt defensive lineman. He is expected to undergo surgery to his left, nonthrowing shoulder Monday and miss the remainder of the season.

Luke, a transfer from Alabama and Oregon State, overcame surgeries to both shoulders this offseason.

He earned the starting job last Saturday against Kentucky after entering in the third quarter. He helped guide a comeback from a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit. It was capped by a game-winning 5-yard touchdown pass to lift No. 20 Florida to a 28-27 win with 48 seconds remaining.

The Raiders were dealt a 27-10 loss to the Washington Redskins the next day.

“It wasn’t all bad this weekend, just not good for the Raiders,” Del Rio said Monday. “I was happy for him. He’s done a great job of staying prepared and being a great teammate down there. I’m really proud of the character that he’s shown. Then he gets in there in a big moment and has poise and leads the team.”

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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