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Raiders report: Starting linebacker plays days after surgery

Updated November 8, 2023 - 8:33 pm

Raiders starting linebacker Robert Spillane has not missed a defensive snap the past two games despite undergoing surgery on his left hand for a broken bone suffered early in the Week 8 loss to the Lions.

Spillane confirmed he underwent a procedure to repair a “shattered” bone, even showing off the stitches in the area on the back of his hand between his thumb and index finger.

“Every week, we get seven days, sometimes six, to recover,” he said. “That happened to be a short week. I was able to get successful surgery on Tuesday morning. They said if I was able to play through the pain, then I could. So we casted it up and went to work.”

Spillane practiced in a limited capacity Thursday and Friday, then played all 63 snaps on defense against the Giants on Sunday.

He said the injury occurred while making a tackle early in the “Monday Night Football” game in Detroit.

“Originally, I thought I had dislocated my finger,” he said. “We learned the bone was shattered after the game. Once we got it taken care of, we’re good going forward.

“I would not say it’s up there with the hardest injuries I’ve played through. Playing with a cast presents certain challenges, especially as a linebacker who uses his hands so frequently. So it was challenging. But painwise, we’ve had more painful injuries for sure.”

Spillane declined to specify what has been more painful, but his toughness has made a mark on interim coach Antonio Pierce, who had been working with the linebackers until last week.

“Lunch pail, hard hat. He broke his hand early in the game against the Lions, never flinched, didn’t miss a snap, taped it up, kept going,” Pierce said. “Next day, came in, had surgery, got casted up, went out there and played every snap. That’s the mentality you want.

“You’ve got your superstars, you got the guys that get all the credit, then you got guys like this, the lunch pail guys that just come to work every day and do it with a smile. He’s been like that since Day One.”

Spillane, who had nine tackles Sunday in a 30-6 win, said he never doubted he was going to be ready to play.

“Me and my friends joked it’s a long way from the heart, so we always knew,” he said.

Injury report

Cornerback Marcus Peters did not participate in Wednesday’s practice, the first of the week after two days off, because of a knee injury he suffered in Sunday’s game. Peters left the game and did not return.

Linebacker Divine Deablo remained out of practice with an ankle injury that has kept him out of the past two games, and starting left tackle Kolton Miller did not practice after suffering a shoulder injury Sunday.

Fullback Jakob Johnson remains in concussion protocol, but linebacker Luke Masterson returned to full participation after missing Sunday’s game with a concussion.

Defensive end Maxx Crosby continued his pattern of limited participation in Wednesday practices with what is listed as a knee injury. Cornerback Nate Hobbs (ankle), tight end Austin Hooper (calf), offensive tackle Thayer Munford (neck) and guard Greg Van Roten (biceps/back) were limited.


The Raiders brought two familiar faces back to the locker room this week, adding offensive tackle Brandon Parker and wide receiver Kristian Wilkerson to the practice squad.

Parker was selected by the Raiders in the third round of the 2018 draft and has spent his entire career in the organization. The 28-year-old was the starting right tackle in 2021 before spending the 2022 season on injured reserve. He was placed on IR again in training camp this year before reaching an injury settlement with the team and being released.

Wilkerson has played in two games for the Raiders this season but does not have a catch. He was waived this month.

Also, veteran tight end Jesse James was signed to the practice squad Wednesday. He has 157 catches and 12 touchdowns in 104 games, including 63 starts, in eight seasons with four teams.

Linebackers Isaac Darkangelo and Austin Ajiake, a former UNLV player, were released from the practice squad to clear room for the new signings.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on X.

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