His right toe nearly healed, McFadden now sidelined by left toe injury

Updated: October 30, 2008, 4:09 AM ET
Associated Press

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- For weeks, Darren McFadden was slowed by a turf toe injury on his right foot. Now that he has that almost under control, he's dealing with a turf toe injury on his other foot.

"You just hope it's some kind of freak accident going out there and you get well on one foot, and then you come back and tweak the other one a little bit," McFadden said after missing practice for the Oakland Raiders on Wednesday. "You hope it's just a freak accident and you just try to push through it like this."

McFadden initially hurt his right big toe on a 50-yard run in the third quarter against Kansas City on Sept. 14. He's been limited by that injury ever since, frequently missing practices and not being able to be the game-breaking back the Raiders expected when they drafted him fourth overall.

Then in the first quarter against the New York Jets on Oct. 19, McFadden hurt his left big toe. He played through the injury that game, but was inactive against Baltimore last Sunday. He missed practice again Wednesday, watching with a boot on his left foot.

After practice, coach Tom Cable acknowledged for the first time that McFadden is now dealing with a second injury.

"First it was the right toe. This is the left toe," Cable said. "It's not the old injury. It's a new injury."

McFadden has never had turf toe problems before and Cable said it could be related to the different shoes he is wearing in the NFL. McFadden wore Adidas shoes in college at Arkansas and is wearing Nikes now. McFadden said he has talked to Nike officials about finding a shoe that works for him.

"I can't just say it's the shoes' fault," he said. "They don't do anything but just get worn. So, I can't say it's the shoes. It's one of those things you just have to push through it."

McFadden got off to a fast start in his NFL career, rushing for 164 yards on 21 carries in his second career game against the Chiefs. In four games since, McFadden has gained only 131 yards on 37 carries, failing to live up to his lofty expectations.

"It's very frustrating," he said. "You get a chance out there in Kansas City, you feel like, 'Hey, I can play in this league. I can run with the other guys.' Then you come back and you been dealing with this for the last five or six weeks, it's something that, it just wears you down. At the same time, you have to keep pushing through it and try to block it out."

McFadden's injury has hindered the offense, which has topped 100 yards rushing just once in the last five games. Oakland also has been unable to use McFadden on direct snaps, as a wideout and on other trick plays that were supposed to be a big part of the offense.

With him limited in practice and games, those plans have been put on the shelf lately. McFadden hopes to get the latest injury under control in time to play this Sunday against Atlanta.

"I have high hopes," he said. "I always have high hopes of playing. But as far as trying anything, we'll just see as the week goes on, how it feels."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press