Raiders QB out, to miss opener Hostetler won't play against Ravens

August 26, 1996|By SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Quarterback Jeff Hostetler, nursing strained ligaments in his right knee, will miss the Oakland Raiders' opener Sunday against the Ravens at Memorial Stadium.

"Hostetler will not play this week. He and I decided that this morning," coach Mike White said yesterday. "He and I just looked each other in the eye, and with the support of the medical people, determined it's better to let him know where he stands and also let the team know we're going on without him."

White said the injury is strain and not a tear to the posterior cruciate ligament, as has been rumored. He said it's unclear whether Hostetler will be ready to play Sept. 8 at Kansas City.

Backup Billy Joe Hobert will start against the Ravens, as he did against the New York Jets in the final exhibition game Friday. In that game, Hobert completed 8 of 18 passes for 93 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

Hobert said getting the start doesn't come as much of surprise.

"I had a gut feeling about it last week," he said.

Hostetler wore a knee brace Sunday and was able to practice with the team. He said he feels good about his recovery and about his chances of playing against the Chiefs.

"I'm planning on it," said Hostetler, whose knee was injured recently on a hard tackle by Atlanta linebacker Cornelius Bennett. "That's all I'm going to tell you. I've had big-time improvement, and we'll go from there."

Hostetler hasn't played extensively since the Dallas game last November, when he aggravated an injury to his shoulder that ultimately required surgery. He's known for being among the toughest Raiders and, typically, hasn't completely ruled out missing the opener.

"It wasn't my idea," he said of sitting out. "But I'm realistic about where they're coming from. It's not going to stop me from pushing, pushing, pushing until we see how it is on Friday, Saturday and go from there."

In respect to allowing his injury to heal, Hostetler has said the season is more a marathon than a sprint.

"That's definitely something that you want to consider," he said. "You'd rather be there at the start and the finish. But the most important thing is to be 100-percent healthy and to be able to do what you want to do."

Pub Date: 8/26/96

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