The Oakland Raiders won their third consecutive road game to start the season Sunday when they came from behind to defeat the then undefeated Baltimore Ravens 28-27.
The win put the Raiders at 3-1 as they look to keep pace in the AFC West with the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos who are 4-0.
While the win was a big one for first-year head coach Jack Del Rio as the Raiders are off to their best start since 2002 when they started 4-0, it did come at a cost.
According to Scott Bairn of CSN, Del Rio said that tight end Lee Smith and linebacker Ben Heeney were both injured in the win and could be lost for the season:
“Both guys are likely to go down (for the season),” Del Rio said. “That’ll be (determined) as they finish the work that is done on these guys, with all the doctors and our experts looking at it.
“If we determine that the (rehab) time is such that we won’t be able to get them back, then they could in fact go down (for the season). It’s not officially done yet, but it’s heading in that direction.”
Smith, who is set to have surgery on a fractured right ankle, served as the team’s back-up tight end but was the best tight end on the roster in terms of run blocking and pass protection.
The 2011 fifth round draft pick of the New England Patriots who is in the second of a three-year contract with the Raiders is likely to be placed on injured reserve.
Heeney, who is in his second year as a pro with the Raiders, started two games at inside linebacker this season and had 11 total tackles.
He also injured his ankle in Sunday’s game, although the severity of the injury is still unknown. With Heeney out Cory James will start at middle linebacker and the team will either promote someone from the practice squad or look outside the organization for help at linebacker.