ALAMEDA — Playing at Arrowhead Stadium for a visiting team is about as difficult as it gets in the NFL.

More than 77,000 red-and-gold clad fans stand and scream from the national anthem until game's end when things are going well for the beloved Kansas City Chiefs.

The stands are as close to the field as in any stadium in the NFL. Even veteran players struggle in such a hostile environment.

The difficulty level jumps exponentially for a rookie or someone who is making his first NFL start. That's the prospect faced by Raiders second-year offensive tackle Mario Henderson, if regular starter Kwame Harris is unable to play Sunday.

Harris missed practice Friday for the third straight day and appears to be a long shot to recover in time for Sunday's 10 a.m. PDT kickoff. He sustained a right knee injury in Oakland's season-opening loss to the Denver Broncos on Monday night and missed most of the second half.

"He just can't really push off it right now," Raiders coach Lane Kiffin said. "He came out (Thursday) and tried a little bit. He thought it was getting better. There's just not a lot of strength in it right now."

It's rare that a player who doesn't practice two days before a game plays in that week's game. Therefore, Henderson has to prepare as if he is the starter. That was the case the past three days, with Henderson working at left tackle with the first-team offense in practice.


Advertisement

Harris made it to the practice field Friday but did so without his helmet and wearing a protective sleeve on his right knee. Kiffin said Harris will be evaluated this morning to see if the injury is any better. For now, he is listed as doubtful.

Fortunately for Henderson and the Raiders, All-Pro defensive end Jared Allen now is with the Minnesota Vikings. Even so, Chiefs right defensive end Tamba Hali isn't a slouch. He recorded 71/2 sacks last season and is regarded as an emerging talent.

Henderson has far more to worry about than crowd noise, inexperience and Hali. He would be entrusted with protecting quarterback JaMarcus Russell's blind side.

"I feel like I'm improving," Henderson said. "I just need more playing time and to get comfortable with this system."

Dorsey-Russell reunion

Russell last saw Chiefs defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey when Dorsey was in town for a predraft interview at the Raiders year-round facility.

Russell and Dorsey went to a baseball game and reminisced about the old days when they were teammates at Louisiana State. Now, they are divisional rivals, going face-to-face.

The Raiders bypassed Dorsey in the draft in favor of selecting running back Darren McFadden. That nixed the prospect of Dorsey and Russell reuniting in the NFL.

"Most of the time when guys from the same schools go different places, you never get the chance to play against them," Russell said. "Since we have that chance, it will be a lot of fun going up against him."

The Chiefs pounced on Dorsey with the No. 5 pick, one spot after McFadden went to the Raiders.

"When we were sitting there, it wasn't a decision of if we'd take him or not," Chiefs coach Herm Edwards said in a conference call. "It was, 'Hey, we got a really good player.'"‰"

Extra points

Wide receiver Javon Walker (hamstring) will play Sunday, Kiffin said. How well he looks today in a workout will determine whether he is healthy enough to start. Pass-rush end Kalimba Edwards (groin) also is expected to play for the first time this season.

— Steve Corkran