Center Rodney Hudson questionable for Raiders
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) The Oakland Raiders may be without starting center Rodney Hudson when they try to snap a two-game losing streak Sunday in Detroit.
Hudson, who sat out last week's loss to the Minnesota Vikings with an ankle injury, returned to practice this week and seemed to be making progress but coach Jack Del Rio didn't sound so optimistic when asked about Hudson's availability.
''It's questionable,'' Del Rio said Friday. ''He practiced on a limited basis. We'll see how it goes.''
Tony Bergstrom will start for Oakland if Hudson is unavailable. Bergstrom made his first career start at center against the Vikings and drew praise from both Hudson and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave.
''He did a terrific job,'' Musgrave said. ''He called a good game. I'm very pleased with Tony's level of play.''
Still, Hudson is the anchor of the Raiders offensive line after signing a $44.5 million, five-year contract in March. At the time, it made Hudson the highest-paid center in the NFL. Miami's Mike Pouncey has since surpassed him.
A second-round pick by Kansas City in 2011, Hudson's arrival has been paying off for Oakland. A year after finishing with the NFL's least-efficient offense, the Raiders rank eighth overall and ninth in scoring heading into Sunday's game against the Lions.
Getting him back in the lineup is key, too, after Oakland was held to 14 points in the loss to Minnesota - its fewest in more than a month.
''I'm getting better,'' Hudson said. ''Everything is getting better every day so I'm going in the right direction.''
Hudson had played in 40 consecutive games dating to Week 3 of the 2012 season before being sidelined against Minnesota. He had been hopeful of convincing the coaching staff to let him play against the Vikings but was fine getting a week off.
Standing on the sidelines gave Hudson a different perspective during the game, something he was able to use in his discussions with Bergstrom when Oakland's offense came off the field.
''It was definitely tough not being able to play and not being able to be on the field and help,'' Hudson said. ''It does give you an opportunity to see some things that you might not see from the angle of being over the ball but I'm always looking for stuff out there, too. I was just trying to help as much as I could.''
With the Raiders clinging to playoff hopes, Hudson is anxious to get back.
''We'll see how it goes today and tomorrow,'' he said ''I feel good at practice but we'll take it a day at a time.''
Notes: TE Lee Smith (right wrist) missed his second consecutive practice and is doubtful. . CB DJ Hayden (ankle) is probable, as are safeties Charles Woodson (shoulder) and Taylor Mays (ankle).
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL