After the stinker the Oakland Raiders put up on Sunday Night Football against the Washington Redskins, Raider Nation was ready to move past it and focus on this latest Sunday matchup with the Denver Broncos.
The offense still looked out of sync until Derek Carr delivered a beautifully thrown 64-yard bomb to Johnny Holton, bringing the score to 10-7 last Sunday. Then it happened: late in the third quarter Carr was hit by Broncos defensive tackle Adam Gotsis, and Carr was awkwardly crunched as he took a knee to his back. Carr was left lying gingerly on the ground; however, he would get up under his power and exit for the remainder of the game.
Fast forward 24 hours and Raider Nation would learn that it is a transverse process fracture which could keep the young quarterback out 2-6 weeks. Hearing the news, fans are left with a bitter taste in their mouths and playoff hopes dwindling. Despite concerns mounting, the Silver and Black have a unique opportunity to prove to their NFL counterparts they are still a viable wild card contending team, even without Carr for several games.
What’s a Transverse Process Fracture?
Great question. According to sportsinjuryclinic.net, a Transverse Process is a bony protrusion from the back of a vertebrae bone in the spine. There is one on each side of every vertebra in the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine. A Transverse Process Fracture occurs from a sudden, intense twisting or side bending movement causing a fracture in the non-structural part of the bone. There is no surgery needed for this type of injury, just basic rest and maybe a brace to keep the spine upright so the bone can heal.
How Long Will Derek Be Out?
According to head coach Jack Del Rio, this is a 2-6 week injury; however, he may be able to come back sooner. There are two quarterbacks that come to mind when talking about a Transverse Process Fracture: former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo & Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. Romo suffered the same injury in the 2014 season that kept him from playing one game; he would then fly to London and play the following week. Cam Newton suffered the same fracture after his horrific car accident but only missed one game. According to Dr. David Chao, former San Diego Charger Team Doctor, he believes Carr has the same chance as Romo and Newton. He also goes on to say that the bone does NOT necessarily need to heal fully in order for Carr to play:
Yes, it is a spine fracture. But this is an avulsion (pulled off) non-structural small wing of bone. It has no risk for paralysis or spinal cord injury. In fact, the bone doesn’t even need to heal to return to play. – Dr. David Chao
The Raiders will have a three-game homestand as they host the Baltimore Ravens, Los Angeles Chargers and the Kansas City Chiefs in the coming weeks. Quarterback EJ Manuel will be starting under center against the Ravens but don’t be surprised if this is the only game Manuel starts during this stretch of home games. I fully expect Carr to try and get on the field against the divisional rival Chargers.
The worst case scenario in all this might be Manuel starting all three games since Kansas City is a Thursday night game and it may be a little fast for Head Coach Jack Del Rio to throw Carr in on a short week of practice. The problem with this kind of injury is that it all comes down to pain management and if Carr can handle it without it drastically affecting his performance. With his highly competitive nature, I believe Carr will show a similar sense of toughness that we saw in 2016 when he dislocated his finger and returned to action. If Romo and Newton were able to come back after missing only one game, I believe Carr can as well. We will have to wait and see what happens but this should give Raider Nation a glimpse of hope that the Silver and Black can still compete, even if it may not be for the division crown.