Raiders' Jimmy Garoppolo (back) on track to start vs. Lions

ByPaul Gutierrez ESPN logo
Friday, October 27, 2023

HENDERSON, Nev. -- Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who sat out Sunday's loss at Chicago Bearswith a back injury suffered the week before against the New England Patriots, returned to practice Thursday and, barring any setbacks, is on track to start Monday night at the Detroit Lions, Raiders coach Josh McDaniels said.

Garoppolo declined to get into the specifics of the injury, saying only that it was "different" than any of his previous ones. The Raiders feared an internal injury at the time and sent him via ambulance to an area hospital to get scans of his back.

Garoppolo has already missed 2 of the Raiders' first seven games, as he also sat out Las Vegas' Week 4 loss at the Los Angeles Chargers with a concussion. He said the start-stop-start-stop nature of his first season with the Raiders has been "different."

"Every season's kind of unique. I've learned that, just throughout the years," he said. "It's never going to go perfect, but you got to make the best of the situation. So that's what I'm trying to do. Just got to roll with the punches, man."

Garoppolo has thrown for 1,079 yards and seven touchdowns with eight interceptions while completing 68.0% of his pass attempts in 4 games after signing a three-year, $72.75 million free agent contract with the Raiders.

Rookie Aidan O'Connell, a fourth-round draft pick from Purdue, and Brian Hoyer, a 15-year veteran, have both started in place of Garoppolo, resulting in losses at the Chargers and Bears, respectively.

The Raiders are 3-4 heading to the Lions, who are 5-2.

All-Pro receiver Davante Adams was enthusiastic about Garoppolo's return.

"For us right now, it's about working with whoever's in there, but definitely having Jimmy, he's somebody that's had the most experience with this offense so far of any of the other quarterbacks," Adams said. "So it definitely does something for us and we had a good practice today and definitely excited to have him back in the lineup. We're going to go out there and try to make the most of every opportunity to get going into the season."

The oft-injured Garoppolo has missed at least 17 regular-season and playoffs games since 2020 due to injury. He underwent surgery on his left foot in March and was not able to take the field until the start of training camp.

Garoppolo did not travel to Los Angeles for the Chargers game but was on the sideline for the Bears game.

"Well, you're in it," he said. "You get the feel of what's going on, the situation of the game.

"But it's a weird feeling. I don't enjoy it, by any means, but it is what it is. And like I said before, you've got to make the best of the situation. So that's what I was trying to do, help the guys out in any way I could. Now, trying to get ready for Detroit and it's a big one this week for us."