Injuries have plagued the Oakland Raiders for much of the 2018 season, but it appears as though the team could be getting back some of its pieces in the coming weeks.
Monday afternoon, Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden spoke with the media about Sunday’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens, and provided an injury update prior to the official kickoff of Week 13.
“Jacquies Smith, one of our defensive ends, is going to have season-ending IR status,” Gruden shared. “He hurt his Achilles tendon. Very disappointing, he was doing some great things for us. I think that’s the only real injury of note, but I’ll be happy to answer any questions I can.”
Smith was a late addition to the roster, joining the team in earlier this month on November 5. The 28 year old was signed just a few weeks ago to provide some needed pass rush on the Raiders defensive line, playing in three games. While Smith is heading to IR, the team is hopeful it’ll get back another defensive lineman very soon.
“[Justin] Ellis will be up this week, hope to have him available against the Chiefs,” Gruden said optimistically. “That will help us on the inside running game I do believe.”
Ellis has been an anchor in the middle of the Raiders defensive line for five years now, and his presence has been missed this season. No. 78 has missed every game since Week 1, but his return to the field will benefit those around him greatly.
On the offensive side of the ball, the team has been without tackle Donald Penn since Week 4, but Gruden also believes there’s a possibility Penn could rejoin the team from the Reserve/Injured list before the season concludes.
“Yeah it is,” Gruden said when asked if it was possible Penn could return. “He’s been downstairs rehabbing and we are hoping he can come back and help us. I don’t know how close he is officially, but he is making progress. Hope to have him on the field before the season is over.”
Both Penn and Ellis’ timelines are undetermined as of now, but chances are we’ll see Ellis sooner than Penn, and hopefully he’ll be good to go for this Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs.