Schroeder Has to Use Crutches : Raiders: The quarterback is hobbled by sprained ankles. If he can’t play Sunday, Evans is expected to start.


No one mentioned the P-word (panic), but the Raiders arrived home from a 27-0 pounding in New Orleans to the sound of crutches on concrete.

Quarterback Jay Schroeder, who sprained both ankles against the Saints, needed help from a Raider employee Tuesday simply to make it from his car to the trainer’s room.

In five days, he hopes to make it from the the huddle to the line of scrimmage against the Kansas City Chiefs.



The immediate backup, Vince Evans, is 36 and fighting a serious case of rust. The other available arm belongs to the 22-year-old redhead from USC, Todd Marinovich, who threw four passes against the Dallas Cowboys in a summer exhibition and called it a rookie season.

Mentioning Steve Beuerlein’s name here would just add salt to numerous Raider wounds but, again, would it not have been nice to have Mr. B to fall back on? The Raiders, remember, get a fourth-round conditional pick from the Cowboys.

As it stands, the Raiders are in no condition to scrimmage themselves, let alone brace for consecutive games against the Chiefs, who have defeated the Raiders in their last three meetings.

Actually, Coach Art Shell was in no mood for hypotheticals.


“I’m not counting Schroeder out yet,” he said.

Shell said his quarterback was “doubtful to questionable” for Sunday’s game at the Coliseum, which will determine home-field advantage for a wild-card rematch against the Chiefs Dec. 28 or 29.

Schroeder could be found Tuesday on crutches, his ankles bound in tape. The right sprain is the more severe, but Schroeder is still holding out hope he can play.

“I’ve always been a pretty quick healer in the past,” he said. " . . . Come Sunday, right now, I plan on playing.”


Schroeder said he wouldn’t need much practice this week, if any, to be effective.

“I don’t think it’s that big a deal,” he said. “Then again, I don’t make those types of decisions.”

Shell does, and he will watch Schroeder closely, then decide late in the week. If Schroeder can’t go, the veteran Evans is expected to get the start ahead of Marinovich. Evans has played sparingly in relief of Schroeder this season, completing six of 14 passes.

Evans, though, is an experienced machine next to Marinovich, who awaits his first regular-season snap. The team’s first-round draft choice has been paying his dues on the scout team this season, but he figures to get a crash-course workload this week.


Is Marinovich up to the task?

“I think he’s doing really well,” Shell said. “I really do. . . . He knows our offense. Even though he’s running the scout team, he knows our offense. There are times we give him a few shots here or there, sometimes we work with him after practice, let him throw to some receivers. He knows what we’re doing.”

Quarterback is the most significant Raider concern, but not the only one.

The Raiders finish the regular season riding the ripple of three ho-hum performances, a 9-7 victory over San Diego followed by losses to Buffalo and New Orleans.


The Raiders also have more injuries than a playoff team should:

--Nose tackle Bob Golic took a shot to the calf against the Saints in the first half and was expected to undergo a magnetic resonance imaging test Tuesday.

The Raiders are already thin in the defensive line, with Howie Long still recovering from strained knee ligaments.

--Outside linebacker Thomas Benson was also a casualty of the New Orleans loss, suffering a neck injury.


--Left guard Steve Wisniewski, who missed the game with a knee strain, was sorely missed. James FitzPatrick pretty much performed like a backup 300-pound tackle playing out of position.

This is no time for excuses, but what about the schedule maker who gave the Chiefs a Saturday game last week while the Raiders were featured on Monday night?

Was this any way to set up a season-ending showdown between division rivals? Because of injuries, Shell faces the choice of playing Sunday’s game for keeps or sitting out some of his wounded players in the hope they might be healed for the rematch in two weeks.

Shell, though, said he would not risk losing the home-field advantage for the sake of saving players.


“Our approach is that we want to win the game with everything we have that’s available,” he said.

As the sun set on Tuesday, that wasn’t much.