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Heyward-Bey making slow recovery after hit

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Associated Press
9/28/2012 4:49:11 PM
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ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Oakland Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey still has no recollection of the devastating hit by Pittsburgh safety Ryan Mundy last week that left him with a concussion and neck strain.

Speaking to reporters for the first time since being carted off the field and hospitalized overnight following the play, Heyward-Bey said he's seen television replays of the hit but otherwise has no memory of it.

"I don't remember any of it," Heyward-Bey said Friday.

Heyward-Bey appeared to be knocked out immediately after getting hit on the chin by the crown of Mundy's helmet early in the fourth quarter of the Raiders' 34-31 win over the Steelers. His limp body crashed to the turf headfirst and his neck twisted awkwardly.

The game was halted for several minutes while Heyward-Bey's motionless body lay in the southern end zone at the Oakland Coliseum as team trainers and medical personnel checked him out. He was eventually strapped to a backboard and taken off the field by cart before being transported to Eden Medical Center for observation.

Since then, Heyward-Bey has been put through a battery of tests required by the NFL for players suffering from concussions.

According to Raiders coach Dennis Allen, Heyward-Bey has not passed all the tests and has yet to be cleared to participate in contact drills. He attended practice Friday as an observer but is doubtful to play in Sunday's game against AFC West rival Denver.

"He's made a lot of progress," Allen said. "Obviously, he's doubtful this week. The biggest determining factor is we want to make sure that he's fully recovered and ready to go before we put him out there on the field. That's really for the doctors to determine when he passes all the NFL protocol for concussions."

The Raiders are already without wide receiver Jacoby Ford, who was placed on injured reserve two weeks ago, and rookie Rod Streater injured his neck in practice Friday.

This is the second straight year in which Heyward-Bey has had to be carted off the field during a game. He suffered a neck injury against Minnesota in 2011 but did not miss a game.

He's not likely to return so quickly this year.

"So far I've been able to walk, talk and eat," Heyward-Bey said. "Right now I'm just trying to go through the process of trying to get everything right. I'm in tune to what's going on. I don't want to say I've been around for everything but I've been in tune with what's going on."

He also said he has no hard feelings toward Mundy. The two men exchanged text messages while Heyward-Bey was in the hospital, with Heyward-Bey telling Mundy the play was simply a part of the game.

"That's just football," Heyward-Bey said. "I signed up to put on pads and go out there. That's what happens out there. People get hit, people get hurt. It happens."

Oakland tight end Brandon Myers, who also suffered a concussion against the Steelers after getting hit by Mundy, has passed the NFL-required tests and has been cleared to play in Denver.

Notes: Allen said the team will wait until Sunday before deciding whether to play newly signed defensive end Andre Carter. ... Oakland safety Michael Huff will make his second consecutive start at cornerback. ... Right tackle Khalif Barnes (groin) and cornerback Shawntae Spencer (foot) have been ruled out. ... Tight end Richard Gordon (hamstring) was a late addition to the Raiders injury report.

Darrius Heyward-Bey (Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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