ALAMEDA — Already down two starters due to season-ending injuries, the Oakland Raiders could be without cornerback Tarell Brown for Sunday's game in Kansas City.
Brown aggravated a foot injury and hurt his ankle while trying to break up a pass last week against San Francisco. He came out briefly then quickly returned and was able to finish the game.
The veteran cornerback was held out of practice earlier this week and was limited in the team's light practice Friday. Brown is questionable to play against the Chiefs.
“It was a red zone day today and a short-yardage day so he was able to do whatever we needed him to do at this point,” interim Oakland coach Tony Sparano said. “We didn't ask him to do a whole lot but he was able to do enough.”
If Brown is held out, it would be a significant blow to the Raiders' already thin defensive backfield.
Safety Tyvon Branch has been out since Week 3 with a broken foot while cornerback Carlos Rogers joined him on the injured reserve list with a knee injury.
Brown and safety Charles Woodson have been the two constants in Oakland's secondary. The two have started every game and are among the team's top tacklers.
In Brown's case, he has also been the Raiders' most reliable player. He has taken all but eight of the team's 931 defensive snaps, including the three plays he sat out after getting hurt against the 49ers.
Rookie TJ Carrie will start against Kansas City if Brown is held out.
“If T-Brown don't go, TJ's going to be right in there,” cornerback DJ Hayden said. “Whoever gets called up, they'll be ready. I feel confident in our group, in everybody.”
Hayden's progress this season has helped make up for the injuries.
The 12th overall pick in 2013 who was beset by a variety of injuries during his rookie year, Hayden spent the first six weeks of this season on the physically unable to perform list after undergoing foot surgery during the offseason. He played in a reserve role his first two games back then inherited the starting left cornerback job when Rogers went down.
Since then, Hayden has been on an upward climb. He has only one interception — coming in his first start of the year against Denver's Peyton Manning — and has graded out very well overall, according to ProFootballFocus.com.
“He's right where he needs to go, and this week we'll see,” Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver said. “We want him to stay in that passionate 'I can cover you, I'm going to stay in my technique' mode in another environment.”
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie took a lot of heat when he drafted Hayden, who had suffered a near-fatal heart injury during his senior year in college. The criticism continued to build last year when Hayden went on injured reserve midway through the season.
With Hayden finally showing signs of progress, that criticism has started to subside.
“I'm comfortable,” Hayden said. “I feel like I'm doing good. I'm getting better each and every week. I just have to take care of the opportunities that come my way.”
Notes: One day after a heavy storm forced the team to move practice to a nearby indoor facility, the Raiders held Friday's workout on their own fields. Buses were on standby to move the team, just in case. … RT Menelik Watson (foot/ankle), WR Denarius Moore (knee/ankle), S Larry Asante (shoulder/quad) and TE Brian Leonhardt (concussion) did not practice and will not play this week. DT Pat Sims (shoulder) and LB Sio Moore (hip) are questionable. WR Andre Holmes (shoulder), CB Chimdi Chekwa (shoulder) and CB Neiko Thorpe (hand) are probable.