Raiders' Tuiasosopo gearing up for likely start Sunday

Updated: October 27, 2003, 7:18 PM ET

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Marques Tuiasosopo is taking snaps with Oakland's first-team offense, and Rich Gannon hasn't thrown a pass since going down in last Monday night's loss to Kansas City.

Still, the Raiders won't say how badly Gannon is hurt -- despite reports the quarterback has a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder that could sideline him for several weeks.

"I'll wait until Wednesday to announce it," coach Bill Callahan said Monday. "We got a lot of good work with Tuiasosopo today. I have a pretty good feel (about Gannon's health), but again I want to give Rich until Wednesday. He is a quick healer. We'll see at that point if he's capable of throwing, if his motion is functional or not."

Gannon hasn't practiced since getting knocked out of Oakland's 17-10 loss to the Chiefs in the first half following two vicious sacks by linebacker Shawn Barber and several other hits. Callahan referred all questions about Gannon's shoulder to the quarterback, but Gannon wasn't in the locker room Monday.

Tuiasosopo, meanwhile, is preparing to start Sunday at Detroit.

"He's a competitor and he wants to play," the 24-year-old Tuiasosopo said. "I'm a competitor and I want to play. We understand our roles. He's still the guy around here, there's no question about that. This is his team. Until he comes back, I'll be glad to contribute as much as I can."

The Raiders, reeling at 2-5 after last year's Super Bowl season, had a three-day weekend off during their bye week and are now gearing up for the Lions with the hopes of making a solid run in the second half of the season.

Tuiasosopo, a seldom-used backup in his third NFL season, nearly led the Raiders to a thrilling comeback against Kansas City, but came up short in the final seconds. He was 16-for-28 for 224 yards after replacing Gannon in the second half.

"Marques has been waiting for this opportunity for several years and I know he's going to make the most of it," offensive tackle Lincoln Kennedy said.

The 37-year-old Gannon led the Raiders' top-rated offense in the NFL last season on the way to winning the league MVP award.

"Hopefully, he can get better, and from what I understand he is getting better," Callahan said. "I'm encouraged by what I hear."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index

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