Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden returned to practice on Tuesday for the first time since injuring his hamstring on Nov. 3 against the Eagles.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, McFadden expects to play Thursday in Dallas, although it is likely Rashad Jennings will start. He has 553 yards from scrimmage in the last four games for Oakland.
McFadden knows fans are impatient with him. He has missed 17 of Oakland’s last 36 games because of injury.
“I’ve dealt with so much criticism for so long I’ve always just, you just have to turn your face to it,” McFadden said. “You can’t pay attention to it. You have to stay positive and focus on the task at hand.”
That wasn’t the only good injury news for the Raiders on Tuesday. Tackle Jared Veldheer is back from a torn triceps and is expected to make his season debut on Thanksgiving. Khalif Barnes, who had played left tackle in Veldheer’s absence, took snaps at left guard on Tuesday.
Cornerback Mike Jenkins passed his last test under the league’s concussion protocol and should play against the Cowboys—his former team. Wide receiver Denarius Moore and defensive end Jason Hunter were not at practice Tuesday; Moore has a shoulder injury and Hunter is nursing a bad foot.
McFadden is one of three members of the backfield at the University of Arkansas’ 2007 team to find some success in the NFL.
McFadden was taken fourth overall by the Raiders in 2008 and rushed for 1,157 yards in 2010, but he’s never played more than 13 games in a season.
Felix Jones was also a first round pick in 2008, going 22nd overall to the Dallas Cowboys. His best season was 2010, as well, when he rushed for 800 yards for the Cowboys. He’s currently a backup in Pittsburgh, where he’s rushed for 137 yards on 38 carries this season.
Peyton Hillis is the third member of that Arkansas backfield that found their way to the NFL. He was a seventh-round pick of the Broncos in that same 2008 draft. Hillis became something of a sensation in 2010 when he rushed for 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Cleveland Browns, winning a fan vote to become the cover athlete on the popular Madden video game franchise in 2011. But injuries have derailed his career since then. He played last year in Kansas City and spent time this year in Tampa Bay before he was released and eventually signed by the New York Giants.