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Raiders hope to heal up for stretch run to playoffs

As the Raiders get set for the second half of the season, they do so while waiting on the return of several key players from injury and illness.

It’s been a constant struggle, with the Raiders rarely fielding a full team over their first eight games. In most cases, they’ve played with a handful of players watching from the sideline.

But as they gear up for a playoff race, they are starting to get healthy.

“We’ve got a number of players that are coming back from injuries,” head coach Jon Gruden said Monday. “And we need them.”

Among the players the 5-3 Raiders hope to get back this week is cornerback Damon Arnette, who has missed five games due to a fractured right thumb that required surgery.

“We think Arnette is going to be back on the practice field,” Gruden said.

That’s a strong indication Arnette could be available for Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos at Allegiant Stadium.

As for right tackle Trent Brown, his return date is unknown. He has played just one full game this year while dealing with a calf issue and, most recently, a positive COVID-19 test that cost him a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

In addition, a pregame medical issue ruled him out of the Cleveland Browns game last Sunday and required hospitalization, and the return of COVID-19 symptoms sent him back to the COVID-19 reserve list and sidelined him on Sunday against the Chargers.

Gruden did not have an update on Brown when he spoke to the media on Monday. The sense is it might be a while before the Raiders get back their right tackle.

Meanwhile, the availability of left tackle Kolton Miller, who missed the first game in his three seasons with the Raiders on Sunday, remains uncertain with an ankle injury.

“We don’t know his status for this week,” Gruden said.

As Sunday continued to show, it has been a constant battle keeping everyone healthy. Against the Chargers, the Raiders lost cornerback Trayvon Mullen to a hamstring issue and fullback Alec Ingold to a rib injury.

Ingold was scheduled to undergo an X-ray on Monday to determine the extent of his injury that sent him to the hospital for a checkup. Ingold was able to make it back home to Las Vegas from Los Angeles by Sunday night, but Gruden said he remained concerned about Ingold’s condition.

The Raiders also remain optimistic about getting defensive tackle Maurice Hurst (ankle) and reserve defensive end Arden Key (foot) back this week.

Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on Twitter.

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