ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) - Oakland Raiders Pro Bowl cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha will wear a cast on his injured left wrist but isn't expected to miss the team's season opener.
Asomugha met with a hand specialist this week after being diagnosed with a chip fracture suffered during the first play of Saturday's preseason loss to New Orleans. Tests confirmed the fracture and revealed cartilage damage in Asomugha's left wrist.
"I'll play in the opener, no problem," Asomugha said Tuesday, shooting down reports that he might miss the Raiders' Sept. 14 home game against San Diego. "If we played today it would be a big issue. I wouldn't even be able to go if it was today. But it wouldn't be an issue afterward."
Asomugha, who signed a three-year, $45.3 million extension in the offseason, did not practice Tuesday and won't play in Oakland's preseason finale against Seattle on Thursday.
Instead, the Raiders will start fifth-year veteran Stanford Routt at right cornerback and Chris Johnson at the left side. Routt had been competing with Johnson in training camp for the starting job opposite of Asomugha.
Having Asomugha available to play against San Diego is a huge plus for the Raiders, whose defense has not played very well in the preseason. Oakland heads to Seattle ranked 32nd against the run and
in overall defense.
In the 45-7 loss to New Orleans last week, the Raiders' problems extended to their pass defense as well. Saints quarterback Drew Brees completed 14 of 17 passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns while compiling a rating of 149.8 in less than two quarters of work.
Oakland coach Tom Cable thus welcomed the news about Asomugha
and said the Raiders don't anticipate having to take it easy with their best defensive player in practice.
"I'm not sure you really have to with what it is, in the cast," Cable said. "He'll be wanting to prepare for that the right way. Based on what we were told he should cast it and be able to prepare and be ready for the opener."
Asomugha is expected to wear the cast for six weeks, longer than normal for a chip fracture but necessary because of the cartilage damage.
The injury occurred on the first play from scrimmage against the Saints when Asomugha went low to tackle New Orleans wide receiver Devery Henderson, who was running a reverse.
"It doesn't feel good," Asomugha said. "When I went low I just got kicked."