ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — The Oakland Raiders plan to put defensive end Justin Tuck on season-ending injured reserve because of a torn pectoral muscle, a person familiar with the situation tells The Associated Press.
Tuck was hurt while trying to tackle Denver running back C.J. Anderson early in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 16-10 loss to the Broncos and spent the rest of the game on the sidelines wearing a sling.
He is expected to undergo surgery soon and will be placed on injured reserve some time before Oakland’s game at San Diego on Oct. 25. The Raiders are on a bye this week.
The Bay Area News Group and Csnbayarea.com were first to report that Tuck was out for the year.
Losing Tuck is a big blow to a defense that is coming off its best game of the season. While he has only one sack, the 32-year-old Tuck is one of the most influential players in Oakland’s locker room and has played a big role in the development of teammate Khalil Mack.
“It’ll be a challenge . having the leader of the team having that kind of injury,” Mack said. “It’s difficult but it’s one that he’s been positive about and we’ve all been positive about with him, letting him know we still want to see him around. Having his leadership is really more important than anything.”
Charles Woodson, who along with Tuck is one of the senior members on Oakland’s roster, believes Tuck’s influence will continue to be felt even though he’ll no longer be on the field this season.
“The thing about Tuck is, (he) is a leader amongst men so I don’t think as far as his leadership and what he brings is going to change much just because of how he is,” Woodson said. “I know a lot of the guys here, especially in the defensive line room, they look up to Tuck and I don’t think that will waver at all.
“We’ll miss him on the field. He’s an important part of our defense so not to have that guy and have to essentially find somebody to replace him, that’s always tough in whatever position it is to replace one of your main guys.”
Tuck has one sack and seven tackles this season after leading Oakland with five sacks in 2014. The 11-year veteran has 66 ½ career sacks and is tied for 11th-most since 2007.
Mario Edwards Jr., a third-round draft pick this year, will likely replace Tuck in the Raiders’ lineup.
The rookie from Florida State started last week against the Broncos and recorded his first sack of the season. Now he’ll be expanding his role while the Raiders increase his playing time.
“Me being versatile enough to move up and down the line is always good,” Edwards said. “It was comfortable being in there. It’s just things happen a little quicker so I had to react to them.”
Tuck will be Oakland’s second starter to be placed on injured reserve. The Raiders lost right tackle Menelik Watson suffered an Achilles injury during the preseason and was lost for the year. Safety Nate Allen was also put on IR after injuring his knee in Week 1 but was given a designation to return and can rejoin the team in November.
“It’s one of those things that you really hate it for the player,” Woodson said of Tuck’s injury. “Nobody wants to miss time. That’s a tough one. You have to come here every day knowing that you can’t play. That’s tough