While shifting through the rubble from Sunday’s disaster against the Cincinnati Bengals, Raider Coach Mike Shanahan has found two more injured victims.
Running back Marcus Allen suffered a broken bone in his left wrist, but is going to try to play next Sunday. Tight end Todd Christensen has a partial tear in a joint in his left leg and may not play for 4 weeks.
In a season appearing to be quickly heading downhill, “Just win, Baby” has been replaced with “Just survive.”
Allen suffered his injury in the third quarter of Sunday’s 45-21 loss to the Bengals, but he continued to play. A cast has been put on the wrist, but Allen will attempt to play against the Miami Dolphins.
“It’s a real painful injury,” Shanahan said, “but a person could play with it if they could stand the pain. They don’t get much tougher than Marcus. If there’s a person who could play with it, it’s him. A lot of people wouldn’t even attempt to play with that type of injury.”
Allen also suffered a lacerated hand Sunday, but that will not limit him.
Christensen suffered his injury late in the first half, tried to return, but found it was futile.
“I hadn’t quite felt pain like that,” he said. “I realized giving it the college try wasn’t going to be enough.”
Shanahan indicated Christensen will probably be put on the injured reserve list, which means he would not be able to play for 4 weeks.
“I hope they don’t do that,” Christensen said. “In the past, I’ve healed quickly. I had a compound fracture of the finger and played with it. I had a torn ligament in my knee in college and played in 2 weeks. I can’t see this injury lasting 4 weeks, but then, I’m not a doctor.”
Christensen has not missed a game since joining the Raiders as a free agent in September of 1979.
All the news at Raider headquarters Monday wasn’t bleak. Offensive tackle Don Mosebar and center Bill Lewis, both out with sprained ankles, will practice this week and may play Sunday.
And defensive back Vann McElroy, out since the season opener with a leg injury, is given a 50-50 chance of playing against the Dolphins. Another injured member of the secondary, Lionel Washington, is attempting to come back from a groin injury, but is not expected to return for at least another week.
So much for the injured. Shanahan, however didn’t have such simple answers for the healthy.
A night of looking at game films, painful as that must have been, didn’t supply him with any ready explanations as to how a team could undergo such a horrendous transformation in 6 days, from a squad that pulled off a comeback from a 24-0 deficit against the Broncos to a team that pulled one of the great disappearing acts against the Bengals.
“They (the Bengals) just played better than we did in all phases of the game,” Shanahan said. “We didn’t have much of a pass rush and, offensively, they did an excellent job of moving the ball up and down the field. You have to give the Bengals a lot of credit. They have one of the top offensive lines. They had allowed only 6 sacks all season and they just kept doing what they’ve been doing.
“But when you get dominated like we did, everybody is going to have to take a hard look at themselves.
“We’ll make some tactical changes that I’m not going to get into. We’re disappointed in the way we played. We’ll go over the pluses and the minuses, the few pluses we had, and a lot of minuses we did have, and try to improve in those areas and keep on going. You get knocked down like we did, you lay back, or you get upset and you go forward. Knowing the type of people we have, we’ll go forward.”
Shanahan was able to point to a bit of silver lining in the black cloud that has enveloped his team.
“We are just one game out of the lead in our division,” he said, “and we are the only team to have not lost a division game. We’ve got a lot of games left.”
It doesn’t figure to be any easier. Consider what Boomer Esiason did against the Raider defense and then consider that the quarterback this week is a fellow named Dan Marino.
Bo Jackson is expected in camp sometime between next Monday and Wednesday. Jackson, whose season with the Kansas City Royals ended Sunday, could see some game action in his first week with the Raiders. That would be against the Chiefs, in Kansas City. “I just don’t know yet,” Coach Mike Shanahan said about using Jackson so quickly. “I want to see what type of shape he’s in. He’s got to come in and learn the system.” . . . Andy Parker will start at tight end in Todd Christensen’s absence.