ALAMEDA Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey took another step toward a seemingly inevitable return Oct. 14 by participating in practice Tuesday.
"Just out there, running routes, catching the ball, getting in a little practice," said Heyward-Bey, who took part in individual drills. "We've got a plan for me. Today was step No. 1, and I feel pretty good."
Heyward-Bey was knocked unconscious Sept. 23 against the Pittsburgh Steelers by Ryan Mundy and also suffered a neck strain when he hit the ground. He was taken from the field in a motorized cart.
Asked if he was 100 percent, Heyward-Bey said, "I took a hard hit, man. I don't know. (I was) good enough to practice."
Teammate Derek Hagan was happy to see Heyward-Bey back for a receiving corps that has had its issues with injuries.
"It definitely was a plus for us just to have the whole group out there healthy going into the bye week," Hagan said. "That's the main thing going into the bye week. You want everybody to be healthy and focusing on the job they have to do."
Despite the lopsided nature of a 37-6 loss to Denver on Sunday, Heyward-Bey believes the offense is close to breaking loose.
"We're real close. We're one cut block away, we're one cut away, one block down the field," Heyward-Bey said. "We showed a little bit of it against Pittsburgh, and we had a little bit here and there. You just have to keep grinding. If you give up on things, you'll never see if it's good or not."
Notes Ranked No. 2 in the NFL in rushing in 2010 and No. 7 in 2011, the Raiders are ranked dead last through four games with an average of 60.8 yards per game. It's less than half of the 131.9 yards per game Oakland averaged a year ago.
"It's not where you want to be," running back Mike Goodson said. "We've got a lot of competitors in here and it's not sitting right with guys. We're definitely out there working."
Cornerback Shawntae Spencer (foot) and tackle Khalif Barnes (groin) did not practice and remain out indefinitely.
The Raiders practice again today, and then are off through Sunday. They return to work Monday and take another day off before preparations for the Atlanta Falcons begin in earnest.